Interesting Comments From John MacArthur on the Nature of Preveninet Grace and the Ordo Salutis

A Concise Description of Prevenient Grace From a Surprising Source (spoiler: It’s John MacArthur)

Excerpt:

I don’t think…particularly I don’t think that regeneration precedes anything except the fruit of regeneration which is a righteous life. I do not think that regeneration precedes saving faith.

Now I know that that’s becoming a…that’s a strongly Calvinistic…I shouldn’t even say Calvinistic, it’s a bit of a hard line Calvinistic viewpoint, I’m hearing it quite a bit nowadays. I had a two and a half hour discussion last week with a man who tried to convince me that regeneration occurs first and after you’re regenerate, then you can believe. So I said to him, “Show me the verse….just show it to me.” Well, he wanted to argue logic but he couldn’t find a verse. I do not find anywhere in the Scripture that the Bible says you will be saved and somewhere along the line you’ll come to realize it. When you separate saving faith from the regenerating act of God, you have put yourself in a non-biblical frame of reference and you have also created a new kind of dynamic in salvation where God is saving people completely independent of anything they do and then they’re just waking up to realize it and putting faith which they’re given by Him in regeneration into action.

Related:

Does Regeneration Precede Faith?

Does Jesus Teach That Regeneration Precedes Faith in John 3:3, 6?

Is The New Heart of Ezekiel 36:26-27 A Reference to Regeneration Preceding Faith?

The Arminian and Calvinist Ordo Salutis: A Brief Comparative Study

A Preliminary Defense of Prevenient Grace

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67 Responses

  1. Meanwhile, James White’s head just exploded …

    Of course, I think MacArthur is right, and this has been the Arminian argument for centuries: but I find the wording a bit peculiar here — “and you have also created a new kind of dynamic in salvation [if regeneration precedes faith] where God is saving people completely independent of anything they do.” The word “do” is what troubles most Calvinists on this issue.

    If someone “does” something, like believe, then they consider that a work — regardless of the fact that Paul insists that faithing or believing or trusting in Christ is not a work, strictly (Rom. 4:4, 5); even though Jesus said that the so-called work that God requires is faith (John 6:27-29). If there is a requirement or a condition to God saving someone then the condition (in this case, faith) precedes God’s saving act (which is in regeneration, cf. Titus 3:5).

  2. As a Calvinist, I actually agree with MacArthur here. My ordo salutis has regeneration and faith occurring at exactly the same moment, whether we are ordering them logically or chronologically. This keeps things simple and avoids the problems of one preceding the other. This approach really seems self-evident, and it prevents needless wrangling between Calvinist and non-Calvinists.

  3. Derek,

    So you see no direct relation between regeneration and faith?

  4. Ben,

    Thanks for your question. My view is exactly the opposite. Regeneration and faith are concurrent and inseparable, like two sides of a coin. When you have one, you have the other.

  5. Exactingly the opposite of what? I asked you if they related to each other in any way. So are you saying that you do not think there is any relationship between regeneration and faith? They have nothing to do with one another?

    In your first comment you said that they occur at the exact same “moment.” But that does not address the issue of logical order. One can precede the other logically and they still occur at the exact same moment. Neither does it mean there is no logical order to say that “when you have one, you have the other.” This is true even if one has logical priority. But if regeneration and faith relate to each other in any way, then there must be logical order in how they relate (and I think Scripture is crystal clear that they do relate to each other).

    Maybe this will help us to be more on the same page as far as how they can happen simultaneously and you can’t have one without the other and yet there is still a logical order base on how they relate to each other:

    Calvinist view that puts regeneration first:

    “The moment we are regenerated, we believe.”

    Note that they happen simultaneously (at the same “moment”) and you don’t have one without the other, yet the logical priority is with regeneration.

    Arminian view that puts faith first:

    “The moment we believe, we are regenerated.”

    Again, faith and regeneration happen simultaneous (at the same “moment”) and you don’t have one without the other, yet the logical priority is with faith.

    This is unavoidable unless you deny that faith and regeneration relate to each other in any way, which is Biblically unsustainable.

  6. Another way to understand the issue is to focus on justification and faith. Do they happen at the same time? Yes. Can you have one without the other? No. But justification is “by faith” and not the other way around (faith is not “by justification”).

    Likewise, regeneration is “by faith” and not the other way around. By faith we are joined to Christ and all the spiritual blessings that are in Him flow to us as a result. That includes justification and regeneration. Faith receives a free and undeserved gift from God, and for that reason it must have logical priority over the gift received (though there is no “time” when one has faith but does not have the gift received by faith).

  7. Ben,

    You said: “So you see no direct relation between regeneration and faith?”

    I replied, “exactly the opposite.” Which means I do see a direct relation between them. The relation is one of concurrence and inseparability. I see both as the gift of God and as existing together in mutual interdependence, both logically and chronologically.

    I am no stranger to the more traditional Calvinist and Arminian approaches. To me, both are equally misguided.

    As an illustration:

    Traditionally, Calvinists might say that regeneration is God striking the match, and faith is the flame that results.

    Arminians might say that faith is man striking the match, and regeneration is the flame that results.

    I would say God strikes the match, and the resulting flame is salvation by grace alone. Regeneration is the light of that flame, and faith is the heat. Repentance is casting our pride and selfishness into this flame.

    You can see from this illustration that faith and regeneration are very directly related to one another, not merely by logical ordering but by their very essence.

    This is basically a modified Calvinistic stance, I admit.

    Blessings,
    Derek

  8. AFAIK @Derek, Arminians would actually say God strikes the match(grace, and to all people) then man receives or rejects the Flame then IF he receives it, regeneration begins.

  9. Derek,

    You are going to need to explain this better. You need to explain how regeneration and faith are actually interrelated, inseparable, (logically) concurrent and mutually interdependent. Your match analogy doesn’t do that because it is unclear how it relates to the spiritual reality. All I see is an assertion illustrated by an analogy that doesn’t really explain the assertion.

    Also, you say, “the resulting flame is salvation by grace.” Does that salvation also include justification? Is justification “by faith” or not? If it is, how do you see no logical priority there?

    Of course, the biggest issue for me is that the Bible presents justification, regeneration and salvation (in general) as a free gift received by faith. That gives faith logical priority regardless of how we might prefer to view things based on a theological system.

    I look forward to a much more careful and precise explanation of your view.

    God Bless,
    Ben

  10. Rex,

    Very well said and an excellent point. This captures the Arminian spirit perfectly.

    Derek

  11. Ben,

    Following my initial comment, we began with your question: “So you see no direct relation between regeneration and faith?”

    The issue, according to your question, is what I see, or my viewpoint on this. The answer is going to come in the form of an assertion, made by me, and possibly a nifty metaphor for illustrative purposes. You are now going a step further and more or less demanding that I “explain” this. What I have already stated stands as a direct and unambiguous answer to your question.

    Nevertheless, it so happens that I have thoroughly outlined my proposed ordo salutis in an article entitled “A Biblical Ordo Salutis for Biblical Calvinists.” It is easy enough to find on my blog site, THEOparadox, if anyone is interested. Here is a little piece of what I wrote in that article some two and half years ago:

    Some Calvinists insist that regeneration precedes conversion. It should be noted that this does not necessarily imply chronological precedence, but a precedence in the logical ordering of events. They ask: “Logically, how can a radically depraved sinner believe the Gospel without first being regenerated by the Holy Spirit?” However, there is no Biblical or logical need to assume that regeneration takes place either before or after conversion. Why shouldn’t regeneration take place at the precise moment of conversion (chronologically) and in conjunction with conversion (logically)? Faith does not arise from man’s “free will” (rather, it frees his bound will!); it is graciously given by the Holy Spirit at the time of conversion. Faith need not precede union with Christ, and union with Christ need not precede faith, but conversion and regeneration happen simultaneously as the Holy Spirit gives both Christ and faith (or faith IN Christ) to a sinner via Effectual Calling. Right along with faith comes the believer’s union with Christ, and vice versa. Our faith is quite literally “in Him.” In this union with Christ the believer objectively possesses all of the benefits of salvation. As the believer abides in Christ, he subjectively and progressively experiences those benefits. This is discipleship. At the moment of glorification, the believer’s subjective and progressive experience of salvation becomes immutable, eternal and complete. In the resurrection body, glorification is comprehensive.

    So this is a pretty good summary of my position, and in it you can see why I am not alarmed, but am actually overjoyed, with MacArthur’s comments. He is moving more my way than toward the old traps of a higher Calvinism.

    As for justification, I place that in the same order with regeneration and faith. It happens when the believer is united to Christ, which is when faith comes and when regeneration occurs. They are all happening together–within, alongside and because of one another–in the mystery of God’s gracious work. Explaining this would be akin to explaining the Trinity. One can only fool himself into thinking he has explained it, when in actuality he will only have reduced it to the level of something he can explain.

    Hope this is helpful.

    Have a great evening.

    Blessings,
    Derek

  12. Derek,

    Your assertion of no logical order was what needed to be defended. Your illustration did not make sense of that. Saying regeneration is the light and faith is the heat doesn’t explain anything because it is unclear what the spiritual parallel would be. So it might have been “nifty” but it was entirely unhelpful and far from “unambiguous.”

    Now in your follow-up, you seem to string together a bunch of incoherent statements and assertions, again, with no explanation as to how any of it makes sense. Then you seem to appeal to mystery at a couple of points as an attempt to clear away any contradictions or incoherence, like so:

    They are all happening together–within, alongside and because of one another–in the mystery of God’s gracious work.

    How do they happen “because of one another”? Or is that the “mystery” you feel no need to explain?

    You say that regeneration and faith relate to each other, but you do not explain how. Happening together does not mean they relate to one another.

    The Bible is clear that justification is by faith. That logically means faith precedes justification (indeed, it receives it as a free and undeserved gift from God, Rom. 4:1-8). And forgiveness is clearly a primary element of justification, which is again received by faith (Rom. 4:6-8). It is unavoidable and blatantly clear in Scripture. It is really not that complicated at all.

    Likewise, we receive the Holy Spirit (the Spirit of life) by faith (Gal. 3:2, 5, 14), and only those who are indwelt with the Holy Spirit belong to Christ (Rom. 8:9), which is why we are likewise joined to Christ by faith (Eph. 1:13), and raised up to new life in Him through faith (Eph. 2:4-10; Col. 2:9-12) All the promises of the new covenant are fulfilled in Christ and received by faith (Gal. 3:14, 22; Rom. 4:16), and we become children of God through faith (Gal. 3:26; John 1:12-13).

    We are saved by faith (Eph. 2:8; 1 Peter 1:9; Rom. 1:16-17; 5:1, 9; 10:9-10). Likewise, we are sanctified by faith (Acts 26:18). The terrible consequences of sin are healed through looking to the Son in faith (John 3:14-15; 6:40). It is only by coming to Jesus by faith that we receive life from Him (John 5:39, 40; 6:32-35). We receive new life by eating and drinking of the Son of God by faith (John 6:50-51,58), and unless we do, we have no life in us (John 6:53). Eternal life is received by faith (John 3:16-18; 5:24;11:25-26;17:13; 20:31;1 Tim. 1:16, etc.)

    Every aspect of salvation is received by faith which clearly gives faith logical priority. Faith is not a “part” of salvation. It is the God ordained condition for receiving salvation. When we try to deny this plain Biblical truth, we end up with a convoluted and incoherent mess (e.g., see your comments above).

    We will just have to agree to disagree because from my point of view what you have written and stated is hopelessly incoherent and unBiblical. Of course, you disagree, and that is where we will just need to leave it I suppose. Your comments and explanations are here for anyone to read and try to make sense of if they so choose.

    God Bless,
    Ben

  13. Derek,

    I agree with Ben. Are you holding to the traditional view of Calvinist Inability( to dead to receive the gift)? If so regeneration has to occurr prior to faith even if but a split second. Impossible to ocurr at the same time in the Calvinist view.

    Russ

  14. rniemen,

    I don’t think it would need to occur a split second before. That would be the case if we were talking about temporal order. Logical order is different. It is a matter of what causes what or what results from what.

    It seems Derek wants to say that God just irresistibly joins us to Christ and once in Christ we receive everything, including faith. If that is the case, then there is no necessary relationship between faith and any other thing that becomes ours through union with Christ. And that contradicts Scripture as noted above. Justification is by faith. Regeneration is by faith. Sanctification is by faith. Adoption is by faith. Union with Christ is by faith. Eternal life is received by faith. Indeed, all of salvation is by faith. To say these things are “by faith” or “through faith” means faith has logical priority as it all comes to the person as a result of faith being exercised. We gain access to all these gracious spiritual blessings through faith (Romans 5:1-2).

    The promised new covenant blessings are all found in and fulfilled in Christ and they are received by faith, not the other way around (Rom. 4:13-16; Gal. 3:14, 22).

    It is so simple and so obvious that only Calvinism could confuse and make a mess of it. This is why I don’t need “nifty” illustrations to make my point. The biblical language does that for me.

    God Bless,
    Ben

  15. Ben,

    Just to be clear, I did not say there is no logical *connection* between these things, simply that I do not put one after the other. In my view, they are so interdependent that one cannot possibly exist apart from the other.

    While there can be no doubt that justification and everything else in the Christian life is “by faith,” one must also consider that we are also justified “by grace” (Titus 3:7) and that “it is God who justifies” (Romans 8:33), and that faith and repentance are “granted” by God (Philippians 1:29; 2 Timothy 2:25). As you are well aware, arguments for the ordering of these items can be made both ways from Scripture. I take the middle position in saying the logical connection is so strong that these things cannot possibly be broken apart into one “order” or another without destroying the essential connections that Scripture makes.

    This is an attempt to reconcile a host of Biblical statements, not just the ones I like, in a logical fashion, without contradicting any of them or creating a false dichotomy.

    At the very least, this gives you a window on a different type of Calvinistic approach than you are used to seeing, and it might help you to put MacArthur’s comments in their Calvinistic context. Or you may just find it all very perplexing.

    Either way ….

    Blessings to you,
    Derek

  16. Derek,

    Again, you make assertions without any argument. You write:

    Just to be clear, I did not say there is no logical *connection* between these things, simply that I do not put one after the other. In my view, they are so interdependent that one cannot possibly exist apart from the other.

    To say they cannot exist apart from the other does not mean there is no logical order. If they “logically” relate to each other then they must relate to each other is some sort of logical order. If you disagree, please demonstrate how that is not the case.

    While there can be no doubt that justification and everything else in the Christian life is “by faith,” one must also consider that we are also justified “by grace” (Titus 3:7)

    Right, justification by faith is justification by grace because faith receives a free and unearned gift from God (Rom. 4:16; 5:1-2). Justification being by faith is what establishes it as being by grace (Rom. 4:16). We are powerless to save ourselves, which is why we need to trust in Christ to save us. Did you think someone here was denying that justification is also by grace?

    and that “it is God who justifies” (Romans 8:33)

    Right, God justifies us in response to our faith. That is why it is entirely gracious. We do not justify ourselves. That would be impossible. Rather, we trust in Him to justify us and He does. He does what we cannot do for ourselves.

    and that faith and repentance are “granted” by God (Philippians 1:29; 2 Timothy 2:25).

    I think you are misunderstanding these passages a little, but I do “grant” that faith and repentance are gifts of God in that He enables us to believe and repent and gives us the opportunity to do so. But again, faith and repentance are not part of salvation. They are the God ordained condition for receiving salvation and God graciously makes it possible for us to meet that condition and so be saved.

    As you are well aware, arguments for the ordering of these items can be made both ways from Scripture.

    What items specifically? Nobody puts justification before faith, right? Nobody puts salvation before faith, right? At least nobody that would remotely be called orthodox. Again, the issue I am concerned with is faith and regeneration. You say they relate to one another, that they are “interdependent” and so forth, and yet claim that there is somehow no logical order between them. I am still waiting on you to explain how that can be the case.

    This is an attempt to reconcile a host of Biblical statements, not just the ones I like, in a logical fashion, without contradicting any of them or creating a false dichotomy.

    Well, there is a very easy way to do that. All of salvation is received by faith which places faith logically prior to receiving/possessing salvation. Salvation received by faith is what establishes it as by grace, because it receives an unearned and undeserved gift from God. And faith is a gracious gift from God in that He divinely enables us to exercise faith.

    This comports with all of the Biblical data, not just the passages I “like.”

    God Bless,
    Ben

  17. Derek, maybe I missed it but I did not see your Ordo Salutis here. Could you you please state what that is? You understand that means order of salvation, right? Meaning logical order, which is what is being talked about here but you keep trying to sidestep it.

  18. JPC,

    Please see the article I refer to above, entitled “A Biblical Ordo Salutis for Biblical Calvinists,” on the THEOparadox blog (easy to find on Google), where I clearly order every major element in salvation. In my view, election certainly precedes atonement, which precedes conversion, which precedes discipleship, which precedes glorification. However, I am not willing to attempt to order things that are distinct yet inseparable, such as faith and regeneration.

    In his comment above, Ben has saving grace and God’s regeneration of the believer following faith, as if God is responding to us rather than initiating these things in us. I am certainly willing to accept that as a common Arminian approach, and I would even say it is an acceptable interpretation of Scripture and broadly orthodox. The classical Calvinist approach that orders regeneration ahead of faith is equally acceptable and orthodox to me. I would even suggest that there are good arguments on both sides. However, I posit the following “via media” approach as a better alternative:

    NOT THIS: “God regenerated me because I believed.” (Arminian)
    NOT THIS: “I believed because God regenerated me.” (Classical Calvinist)
    INSTEAD: “I was given the gift of regeneration and faith because God saved me by His grace.” (Calvinist Via Media)

    I am simply stating that regeneration and faith have a logical relationship of mutual interdependence rather than a strict order that would have one causing the other (and would thereby implicitly deny the reciprocal aspect).

    Let’s imagine a person is crossing a river using a series of stepping stones. On my view, the stepping stone of election comes before the stepping stone of atonement. However, the stepping stone of faith does not come before the stepping stone of regeneration, or vice versa. They are next to each other and connected in such a way that you cannot step on one of them without stepping on the other. They occupy roughly the same space.

    In other words, regeneration and faith are logically related by mutual interdependence rather than by a linear ordering. The one who thinks this arrangement is logically impossible or Biblically non-viable (and not simply theologically disagreeable) bears the weight of responsibility to show us why and how that is the case.

    The mere fact that theologians have historically used the term “ordo salutis” does not mean we are forced to place every element into a strict linear order. In this discussion, we are trying to explain complex Biblical and spiritual realities that may not fit within a point by point ordering system.

    The good news is, as believers we have each actually experienced faith and regeneration (not to mention justification, reconciliation, sanctification, etc.). Although we might arrange the elements differently in theory with our academic discussions, much more importantly we can greatly rejoice in God’s saving work! It is a wonderful reality for us.

    Hopefully this helps to answer your questions and encourages you in Christ.

    Many blessings,
    Derek

  19. In his comment above, Ben has saving grace and God’s regeneration of the believer following faith, as if God is responding to us rather than initiating these things in us.

    This is a confused statement. If God must enable faith, then He is certainly initiating the process that leads to saving grace. Never mind that faith means nothing except for the fact that God Himself established it as the condition for receiving salvation. And never mind that faith has reference to Christ and the provision of atonement found in Him alone.

    The Bible is painfully clear that salvation is by grace because it is by faith. I explained this above and gave you Scripture references that state this explicitly. And note that you wrote: “God’s regeneration of a believer following faith.” Is “regeneration of a believer” how you would put it too, or is that just your description of my view? If it is how you would put it too, then it betrays the fact that faith logically precedes regeneration (just as it does in Scripture).

    I am certainly willing to accept that as a common Arminian approach, and I would even say it is an acceptable interpretation of Scripture and broadly orthodox.

    What is a common Arminian approach? Putting faith before saving grace? That is a Biblical approach as the Bible plainly says again and again that salvation is “by faith.” So you can’t get any more “orthodox” than just affirming what the Bible actually says on the matter.

    But if you mean that this takes away God’s initiative in the process, then you are wrongly portraying Arminian theology as demonstrated above. And if you are suggesting that God does not “respond” to man, then you must be reading a really strange Bible as God responding to man is all over the Bible from cover to cover.

    I am simply stating that regeneration and faith have a logical relationship of mutual interdependence rather than a strict order that would have one causing the other (and would thereby implicitly deny the reciprocal aspect).

    But again this is just an assertion. How are they interdependent? How does one specifically relate to the other? If they have a logical relationship, as even you have claimed, then how can there be no logical order in how they relate? You are just making a non-sensical claim here and expecting us to swallow it.

    They are next to each other and connected in such a way that you cannot step on one of them without stepping on the other. They occupy roughly the same space.

    Occupying the same space or being “next to each other” does not mean they relate to each other and it certainly doesn’t mean there is interdependence either. If they are just gifts given by God at the same time, that does not mean they relate to each other. If they relate to each other, you need to explain how. When you do that you will be forced to give one logical priority. That seems to be why you simply refuse to explain. Rather, you just make assertions and seem to assume your assertions should be persuasive simply because you make them.

    In other words, regeneration and faith are logically related by mutual interdependence rather than by a linear ordering. The one who thinks this arrangement is logically impossible or Biblically non-viable (and not simply theologically disagreeable) bears the weight of responsibility to show us why and how that is the case.

    That’s cute. You make assertions you cannot defend and then try to spin things so that the burden of proof rests on those who disagree with your assertions and point out that they do not explain anything. That’s a clever trick that might work at your site, but it won’t work here. If your argument is “because I say so”, then please stop wasting my time.

    Hopefully this helps to answer your questions and encourages you in Christ.

    It certainly didn’t answer any of my questions, but I kinda knew from the start that wasn’t going to happen. Oh well. Thanks for trying.

  20. Given what I have seen of Phil Johnson and his best bud, James White, I’d say some people are really scratching their heads about now. I wonder of some of the other Calvinists will stay away from him as well.

  21. Theoparadox,
    You just confirmed that Calvinism is human philosophy with little to zero regard for scriptures. You have irrefutable biblical proof that faith precedes regeneration and everything else that is ours in Christ yet you won’t admit it. Your alternative to traditional Calvinism is not really an alternative but a diversionary tactic.

    Isaiah 65:2 New American Standard Bible (NASB)
    2 “I have spread out My hands all day long to a rebellious people,
    Who walk in the way which is not good, [a]following their own thoughts,

    This is God’s grace; an offer of salvation to man who would otherwise not save himself. When man responds, it does not mean that God is responding with grace to man’s repentance. The grace was available all along. What repentance does is to access this grace.

  22. Vooke,

    Thank you for sharing your opinions. I would imagine that if I made comments of this sort, Ben would tell me I have only made assertions without offering an argument. I am certain that he is fair minded and charitable enough to apply this standard to those on his own side as well. Your comments lead me to question whether you possess either of those traits.

    Unfortunately, your comments do not move the discussion forward. Oh well. Thanks for trying.

    Derek

  23. Theoparadox,
    Am a late comer in this debate and so far as I can see, there is no debate to move forward save you admitting that path precedes regeneration.

    Amd sure kangaroodort is eagerly awaiting your response.

    About MacArthur, I have heard several accusations that he is not a ‘true’ Calvinist

  24. Vooke,

    I have just posted to my blog a study of all major New Testament texts containing the concept of regeneration, new birth, etc. I agree that there is no debate to move forward (at least not on textual grounds), since, as my post demonstrates, the New Testament does not solve this question. I disagree that it is obvious that faith precedes regeneration, or that I should “admit” this, since, as my post demonstrates, the New Testament does not solve this question.

    http://theoparadox.blogspot.com/2015/08/faith-and-regeneration-which-comes-first.html

    I would love to see the “irrefutable Biblical proof” that demonstrates faith precedes regeneration, or proof that the two cannot occur simultaneously. I did not find either of those anywhere in the text. Perhaps you will show me where the proof is.

    Blessings,
    Derek

  25. Theoparadox,
    You have had an opportunity to present your understanding here and this is what I have based my opinion on. While I very much appreciate your blog and all that, please respond to kangaroodort. That’s how to ‘move forward the discussion/debate’, not referring us to your thoughts elsewhere.

    Can I summarize his last post for you?

  26. Theoparadox,
    EXPLAIN to us HOW faith and regeneration are ‘logically related by mutual interdependence’

  27. Vooke,

    For the answer to your demand, please see my comment to Ben on June 24.

    When you explain to me how a person receives one side of a coin without the other, or how a person receives the inside of a box versus the outside of it, or how a butterfly flies with only one wing, I will begin explaining the mysteries of faith and regeneration to you.

    You are asking me to divulge a matter on which God has been silent. For an answer, I can only go to the Text, which I have done for you in my recent blog post. If you will not engage THE TEXT with an equally rigorous analysis, or at least consider my analysis, why do you continue to demand I offer speculations? For now, I will point you to the Word and nothing else (which in itself thoroughly refutes your accusation that “Calvinism is human philosophy with little to zero regard for scriptures”).

    Please demonstrate your regard for the Scriptures by proving your position (or disproving my position) from the Text.

    Blessings,
    Derek

  28. Theoparadox,
    I have asked you what kangaroodort asked you;
    Substantiate your ‘mutual interdependence’ theory and you are telling me to explain it first?

    Funny man.

    This is a blog with a subject and you would do well to tackle the subject here not sending me on a wild goose chase out there. Are you here to sell your blog?

  29. Vooke,

    I already answered Ben’s request, he responded, and we basically agreed to disagree. Then you came around making strong statements against my position, so I responded to show your claims were groundless.

    As for the link to my blog … Well, I just figured Ben would not prefer to have a study of a dozen or so Scriptures posted in the comment box on his site (plus I had some funny pictures to post). The last thing I want on my site is a lot of contentious Arminians coming around to accuse me of various theological crimes. If I was even writing on my blog once a month nowadays, I might try to advertise it to hungry Calvinists, but not here.

    Anyhow, since you insist:

    Faith and Regeneration: Which Comes First?

    INTRODUCTION

    This is basically a theological version of the “chicken and egg” conundrum. Occasionally it amuses me that Calvinists and Arminians (and others) are so apt to come to blows with regard to this question (I am referring to the theological one, not the chicken/egg question). As far as chickens and eggs are concerned, the answer is quite obvious from this text:

    Genesis 1:20-23 And God said, “Let the waters swarm with swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the expanse of the heavens.” So God created the great sea creatures and every living creature that moves, with which the waters swarm, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. And God blessed them, saying, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth.” And there was evening and there was morning, the fifth day.
    God created “birds,” not eggs, on the 5th day. “Eggs” are the intended method by which they will be fruitful and multiply. I hope you can appreciate what a great mystery has just been solved here.

    Unfortunately, the ordering of faith and regeneration does not have such an easy solution. Let’s examine all of the texts related to the topic of “regeneration” to see whether they answer this question.

    INVESTIGATING THE TEXT

    1. The Greek noun παλιγγενεσία (PALIGGENESIA) appears twice in the New Testament:
    Matthew 19:28 Jesus said to them, “Truly, I say to you, in the new world, when the Son of Man will sit on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.”
    This text is clearly not referring to individual, salvific regeneration, so it has no bearing on the discussion.
    Titus 3:4-8 But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life. The saying is trustworthy, and I want you to insist on these things, so that those who have believed in God may be careful to devote themselves to good works. These things are excellent and profitable for people.
    This text, which clearly refers to individual, salvific regeneration, and even mentions faith in close proximity, does not give any hint of which came first.

    2. The Greek verb ἀποκυέω (APOKYEO) is used once in the context of spiritual birth:
    James 1:16-18 Do not be deceived, my beloved brothers. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. Of his own will he brought us forth by the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.
    There is no mention of the ordering of faith and regeneration here. What is undeniable is that God alone regenerates, and that it is “of His own will” that He has regenerated His people.

    3. The Greek verb ἀναγεννάω (ANAGENNAO) appears twice in the New Testament, both times in I Peter:
    I Peter 1:3-5 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.
    This text, while not explicitly addressing our question, only speaks of the role of faith as a protection for believers after regeneration has occurred. Rather than mentioning our faith as the cause of regeneration, Peter speaks only of God’s mercy as the cause.
    I Peter 1:22-25 Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart, since you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God; for
    “All flesh is like grass and all its glory like the flower of grass.
    The grass withers, and the flower falls, but the word of the Lord remains forever.”
    And this word is the good news that was preached to you.
    This text, while mentioning regeneration and the preached Word of the Gospel, offers us no indication of the ordering of faith in the equation. If anything, we might refer back to verses 20 and 21, which tell us plainly that “through Him [we] are believers in God.” This gives all of the credit for the origination of our faith to Christ, and not to our own act of will in exercising faith. The true sight and knowledge of Him (as proclaimed in the Gospel) produces faith, as surely as the sight of a raging hurricane produces awe and dread.

    4. The Greek verb γεννάω (GENNAO) is sometimes used in the context of spiritual birth, or regeneration:
    John 1:9-13 The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.
    On the surface, this passage might seem to place faith ahead of regeneration. However, the text does not specify at which point regeneration occurred. Rather, it shows that the “right” of sonship was given to those who believed. Thus, the right of sonship follows upon faith. This right is given to those who are born of God and have believed.
    John 3:1-8 Now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. This man came to Jesus by night and said to him, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher come from God, for no one can do these signs that you do unless God is with him.” Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” Nicodemus said to him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?” Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”
    This text says much about the new birth, but gives us no indication of the ordering of faith and regeneration. It simply tells us that regeneration is necessary to salvation. Although faith figures prominently in the remainder of the chapter and the book of John, there is no conclusive evidence of ordering here.

    There are several passages in I John that mention spiritual birth:
    I John 2:29 If you know that he is righteous, you may be sure that everyone who practices righteousness has been born of him.
    There is no evidence of the ordering of faith and regeneration here, unless we take “practicing righteousness” to include initial belief in Christ.
    I John 3:9 No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God’s seed abides in him, and he cannot keep on sinning because he has been born of God.
    No evidence of the ordering of faith and regeneration here.
    I John 4:7 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God.
    No evidence of the ordering of faith and regeneration here.
    I John 5:1 Everyone who believes (Present Active Participle) that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God, (Perfect Passive Indicative), and everyone who loves the Father loves whoever has been born of him (Perfect Passive Participle).
    On the surface, this verse might seem to teach that regeneration occurs before faith. However, it could be interpreted the other way. Thus, there is ultimately no conclusive proof of the ordering of faith and regeneration here. If anything, the verb tenses might point toward regeneration preceding faith.
    I John 5:4 For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith.
    Although faith and regeneration are both mentioned, there is no evidence of the ordering here.
    I John 5:18 We know that everyone who has been born of God does not keep on sinning, but he who was born of God protects him, and the evil one does not touch him.
    No evidence of the ordering of faith and regeneration here.

    CONCLUSION

    So, if all of the New Testament passages dealing with regeneration are ultimately silent (or at least inconclusive) on this issue, what was the point of this exercise? We arrive at three conclusions:
    The subject is not definitively settled by the Biblical text itself (perhaps God has not deemed this to be an area in which we need to have a settled certainty).
    Any position that insists on a particular ordering must be driven by something other than the text (such as soteriology, systematic theology or philosophical considerations).
    Upon thorough consideration of these texts, three possibilities remain:
    Faith precedes regeneration
    Regeneration precedes faith
    Both occur simultaneously
    I would favor the third option and recommend it for consideration by all. As a Calvinist, the second option would seem to be the next best. Based on the Biblical text, there can be no doubt that regeneration, faith, repentance, justification, reconciliation, sanctification and all other good gifts are given to us by God, and are not from ourselves. That is GREAT NEWS, regardless of your stance with regard to the order.

  30. I don’t have the time to get into this again right now, but as per Derek’s comment to Vooke,

    Please demonstrate your regard for the Scriptures by proving your position (or disproving my position) from the Text.

    I would refer anyone interested to my previous post above:

    https://arminianperspectives.wordpress.com/2015/05/29/interesting-comments-from-john-macarthur-on-the-nature-of-preveninet-grace-the-ordo-salutis/#comment-14620

    And here:

    https://arminianperspectives.wordpress.com/2015/05/29/interesting-comments-from-john-macarthur-on-the-nature-of-preveninet-grace-the-ordo-salutis/#comment-14622

    And the problem persists in Derek’s use of analogies as he has yet to show how his analogies directly relate to regeneration and faith. Analogies are great for illustrating spiritual truths at times, but useless if one cannot show how an analogy directly relates to that spiritual truth. For example, Paul uses the illustration of the body to explain unity in diversity in the believing community, but he carefully explains how the analogy directly relates to that spiritual truth (e.g. 1 Cor.12:12-31). Derek has yet to do that with his stepping stones/coins/box/butterfly analogies above, and that is exactly what is needed to make his point.

    But he then insists that he doesn’t need to since the Bible is silent on the issue and so it is a “mystery” that we should not expect to solve. But it seems to me that Derek has created a mystery where the Bible has not since the Biblical data teaches again and again that all aspects of salvation, including regeneration, are received by/through faith, which puts faith logically first as I described in my comments above,

    The Bible is clear that justification is by faith. That logically means faith precedes justification (indeed, it receives it as a free and undeserved gift from God, Rom. 4:1-8). And forgiveness is clearly a primary element of justification, which is again received by faith (Rom. 4:6-8). It is unavoidable and blatantly clear in Scripture. It is really not that complicated at all.

    Likewise, we receive the Holy Spirit (the Spirit of life) by faith (Gal. 3:2, 5, 14), and only those who are indwelt with the Holy Spirit belong to Christ (Rom. 8:9), which is why we are likewise joined to Christ by faith (Eph. 1:13), and raised up to new life in Him through faith (Eph. 2:4-10; Col. 2:9-12) All the promises of the new covenant are fulfilled in Christ and received by faith (Gal. 3:14, 22; Rom. 4:16), and we become children of God through faith (Gal. 3:26; John 1:12-13).
    We are saved by faith (Eph. 2:8; 1 Peter 1:9; Rom. 1:16-17; 5:1, 9; 10:9-10).

    Likewise, we are sanctified by faith (Acts 26:18). The terrible consequences of sin are healed through looking to the Son in faith (John 3:14-15; 6:40). It is only by coming to Jesus by faith that we receive life from Him (John 5:39, 40; 6:32-35). We receive new life by eating and drinking of the Son of God by faith (John 6:50-51,58), and unless we do, we have no life in us (John 6:53). Eternal life is received by faith (John 3:16-18; 5:24;11:25-26;17:13; 20:31;1 Tim. 1:16, etc.) Every aspect of salvation is received by faith which clearly gives faith logical priority. Faith is not a “part” of salvation. It is the God ordained condition for receiving salvation. When we try to deny this plain Biblical truth, we end up with a convoluted and incoherent mess…

    And it is especially important to note that only by “receiving”
    Christ by “believing” in Him do we gain the power to become something we were not previously- children of God,

    https://arminianperspectives.wordpress.com/2012/09/05/dr-brian-abasciano-on-the-conditionality-implied-in-romans-916-and-its-connection-to-john-112-13/

    If Derek sees a mystery here as far as logical order, I can’t help that. For me, there is no mystery at all. And until Derek can demonstrate that faith and regeneration happen simultaneously with regards to logical (and not just temporal) ordering while still having some sort of “logical relationship” in somehow being interdependent and inter-related, without being able to explain how this can be the case (outside of analogies with no connection to the spiritual truth being drawn), it is indeed just an assertion.

  31. I should also mention that Derek’s comment regarding 1 John 5:1 that, “If anything, the verb tenses might point toward regeneration preceding faith” is erroneous. This is a common Calvinist claim that is not supported by the rules of Greek grammar. For a thorough refutation of this Calvinist claim, see here:

    https://arminianperspectives.wordpress.com/category/1-john-51/

    (I will happily email a PDF of Abasciano’s article to anyone who requests it as mentioned in those posts).

  32. theoparadox,
    You need to listen to yourself.
    “However, the text does not specify at which point regeneration occurred. Rather, it shows that the “right” of sonship was given to those who believed. Thus, the right of sonship follows upon faith. This right is given to those who are born of God and have believed.”

    According to you,
    1. there is a difference between Sonship and ‘right of Sonship’
    2. The ‘right of Sonship’ follows faith
    3. The ‘right of Sonship’ is given to ‘those born of God’

    The text is clear;
    John 1:12 (KJV) But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name

    So the power to become sons of God or ‘right of Sonship’ is not granted to those born again, but to those who believe.

    The power to become sons of God= new birth= regeneration

    If there are rights inherent in sons of God, they are received upon regeneration/new birth and not after.

    So if you concede that the ‘rights of Sonship’ follow belief,you very much say the same thing as MacArthur and kangaroodort

  33. Vooke,

    Yes, being born of God and becoming a child of God are the same thing in this passage, and it results from “receiving” Christ through faith (believing in His name). There is no way around it.

  34. I would compare John 1:12-13 to Galatians 4:1-2. Notice that the born son is no different from a slave when he is a mere child (Gk. NEPIOS). He does not yet have the full rights of a son and is treated just like a slave. Even so, those who are born again by faith are given more than just new birth. They receive the “right” of sonship, i.e. rights to the inheritance, authority to act on behalf of the family and to invoke the family name, to use the family wealth, etc. You need to understand the customs of Biblical times to properly interpret this passage.

    Furthermore, I have never argued that regeneration precedes faith. I noted that there is a passage that seems (on the surface, at least) to support this, and also a passage that seems to support the opposite. Neither is conclusive, however, and both fit nicely with the mutual concurrence view I have outlined.

    I would love to know what Biblical text (and what odd view of regeneration) leads you to believe that it is possible for an unregenerate person to exercise saving faith in Christ while he is still in his unregenerate condition. How exactly does an unbeliever believe without being a believer? Why (Biblically speaking) can’t God cause concurrent regeneration and faith, which in turn mutually cause one another? Perhaps my mind is just too broad and creative (not to mention bound to Scripture) to insist an either/or scenario here.

    Belief is certainly emphasized as the condition of conversion, but not because it causes the rest (like pressing a button); rather, because faith is the one part of the entire salvation experience (along with repentance, its other concurrent corollary) in which we actively participate. Just as faith and regeneration are mutually interdependent, faith and repentance are mutually interdependent (It’s impossible to walk in one direction [FAITH] without not walking in the other direction [REPENTANCE]). You can’t possibly have one of these without the other, which is one reason why repentance is not always mentioned, but faith always is. Repentance is assumed because the two go hand in hand. Regeneration and faith are similarly connected and impossible to separate (they are distinct but not separate). In salvation, God causes faith and regeneration even as we exercise faith and repentance. In the center of it all is the glorious Gospel and a sinner saved. God’s ways are beautiful.

  35. Derek,

    You write,

    Even so, those who are born again by faith…

    Exactly. We are born again by faith. That places faith logically prior to the new birth.

    You write,

    Furthermore, I have never argued that regeneration precedes faith. I noted that there is a passage that seems (on the surface, at least) to support this, and also a passage that seems to support the opposite. Neither is conclusive, however, and both fit nicely with the mutual concurrence view I have outlined.

    And I was pointing out that the passage you say seems to support regeneration preceding faith does not as the Greek grammar would actually dictate that faith precedes regeneration or that they are contemporaneous (temporally speaking). And again, it is not “concurrence” that is a problem with regards to temporal ordering. It is a problem only when you say that it has reference to logical ordering.

    You write: I would love to know what Biblical text (and what odd view of regeneration) leads you to believe that it is possible for an unregenerate person to exercise saving faith in Christ while he is still in his unregenerate condition.

    All the passages that say that new life and salvation as a whole are by/through faith. If such things are received by faith, then faith comes logically first. It is really not that complicated.

    How exactly does an unbeliever believe without being a believer?

    This is a very strange question. When did anyone suggest that one can become a believer without believing? Exercising faith and believing are the same thing. So an unbeliever becomes a believer when he exercises faith.

    Why (Biblically speaking) can’t God cause concurrent regeneration and faith, which in turn mutually cause one another?

    Biblically speaking, we receive all aspects of salvation (including regeneration) by/through faith. God could certainly cause us to have faith and be regenerated at the same time. He could just give them as gifts at the same time. But that wouldn’t mean they had any necessary relationship, beyond the fact that they are both gifts given by God at the same time. That is likely what MacArthur is saying. But you go further and say that they are still logically related and “mutually cause one another”. That seems plainly incoherent and requires some careful explanation.

    Perhaps my mind is just too broad and creative (not to mention bound to Scripture) to insist an either/or scenario here.

    Right, the problem is likely that you are just so much more creative/intelligent and “scriptural” than those who challenge your assertions. Nice.

    Belief is certainly emphasized as the condition of conversion

    If it is a condition, then it comes logically first. I am really struggling to understand why your broad, creative and scripturally bound mind cannot grasp that very simple concept. Twice now you have conceded that faith logically precedes regeneration, but you can’t seem to even recognize that you have done so.

    …but not because it causes the rest (like pressing a button); rather, because faith is the one part of the entire salvation experience (along with repentance, its other concurrent corollary) in which we actively participate.

    I never said that faith causes regeneration. God causes regeneration in response to faith. We are saved “by faith” which means that the “experience” of salvation is received by faith (which clearly puts faith logically first). We trust in God to save us, and He does. He saves in response to faith.

    Just as faith and regeneration are mutually interdependent, faith and repentance are mutually interdependent (It’s impossible to walk in one direction [FAITH] without not walking in the other direction [REPENTANCE]). You can’t possibly have one of these without the other, which is one reason why repentance is not always mentioned, but faith always is.

    While I am not sure exactly what you mean by the way you are using the phrase, “mutually interdependent”, I generally agree with this and you did a good job explaining the connection between repentance and faith. They are two ways of looking at the same condition. But regeneration and faith are very different things. Faith is the condition that receives regeneration. As usual, you use an illustration to make your point, but cannot demonstrate how it specifically relates to your claims about faith and regeneration.

    Repentance is assumed because the two go hand in hand. Regeneration and faith are similarly connected and impossible to separate (they are distinct but not separate).

    Nobody said that faith and regeneration are not connected. They are connected. Regeneration is received by faith.

    In salvation, God causes faith and regeneration even as we exercise faith and repentance. In the center of it all is the glorious Gospel and a sinner saved. God’s ways are beautiful.

    And here is just another assertion on your part. You can certainly say that God irresistibly gives faith and regeneration as two gifts at the same time. But that is not all that you have claimed. You have also claimed that they are logically inter-related and interdependent, with no logical ordering or precedent, and yet you maintain that they cause each other. But two things causing each other makes no sense. And one thing causing another involves logical ordering. But you have said that there is no logical ordering at all. So the more you try to explain, the more incoherent things seem to get.

    But in the end, it doesn’t matter, since the Bible is clear that all aspects of salvation are received by/through faith, which gives faith logical priority. You are certainly free to be as “creative” as you want with the Bible, but that simple truth remains despite your attempts to complicate the issue. Or, as you so well stated,

    “[we] who are born again by faith… Belief is certainly emphasized as the condition of conversion.”

    Amen! Well said!

  36. theoparadox,

    “Why (Biblically speaking) can’t God cause concurrent regeneration and faith, which in turn mutually cause one another?”

    The answer is simple; that’s nonsense. If they are already caused, what’s the purpose of ‘causing one another’?

    You would have a point if both faith and regeneration ‘grow’ qualitatively or quantitatively.

    Please refute this by an example in Genesis of two things created simultaneously/concurrently ‘which in turn mutually cause one another’. You can try the clouds😎

  37. Ben,

    I am glad we at least agree about repentance. This is good progress and a significant point of continuity.

    Vooke,

    Well, let’s see . . . Gen. 2:2 And on the seventh day God finished his work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work that he had done.

    “finished His work” and “rested from His work” are simultaneous, interdependent and mutually caused. By “finishing,” He rested, and by “resting,” He finished. So, the “finishing” was caused by the “resting,” and vice versa. Likewise, on my view faith and regeneration are simultaneous, interdependent and mutually caused by one another.

    Remember that faith and regeneration are not “created things,” but actions.

    Another example: Gen. 2:24 Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.

    “Leaving Father” and “leaving Mother” occur simultaneously, and both of these acts are interdependent and mutually caused by the other, even as both are ultimately caused by the desire to take a wife. By “leaving father,” you leave Mother. And by “leaving mother,” you leave Father. In the Biblical meaning, you can’t do one without doing the other by default.

    This is not like “the sound of one hand clapping.” It is more like two hands clapping. But which hand is hitting the other hand and causing the sound? Both, of course.

    Once my son and I chased each other in circles around the huge oak tree in our front yard. As we ran, I asked him: “Who is chasing whom? Who is in front and who is following?” It was impossible to tell, since both of us were equally in the act of chasing and being chased. This is, in addition to the Biblical examples cited above, an apt illustration of our subject matter.

    So we have two examples from Genesis, plus two from life. I will now “finish” this comment and “rest” from writing it.

    Blessings,
    Derek

  38. Derek, I think I can see from your reply regarding the Ordo Salutis that the order of faith and regeneration really does not matter to you as you believe both are gifts given by God monergistically. You state:

    “I was given the gift of regeneration and faith because God saved me by His grace.”

    But then you state later that:

    “faith is the one part of the entire salvation experience (along with repentance, its other concurrent corollary) in which we actively participate.”

    So you want a faith that God gives to the elect apart from the will yet you also want a faith that we are providing when you state:

    “God causes faith and regeneration even as we exercise faith and repentance.”

    That sounds like 2 types of faith to me, is it not? Yet, when you argue against the position stated by Ben with statements such as:

    “I would love to know what Biblical text (and what odd view of regeneration) leads you to believe that it is possible for an unregenerate person to exercise saving faith in Christ while he is still in his unregenerate condition.”

    You are not willing to grant that the Arminian position states that God regenerates an unbelievers heart to the point that he can make a decision to repent and believe. This is known as the conviction of the Holy Spirit which is clearly taught in the Scripture as Jesus said he would convict the world of sin. A dead sinner cannot be convicted unless God does a work in their heart first. However, as shown by so many passages, God’s grace can be resisted so this is not the regeneration of being “born again” which is only reserved for believers.

    I can speak for myself (and maybe a few others) when I say that my goal when I am shaping my theological views is to have a view that is consistent with Scripture and gives Jesus all the glory! He is the exalted one, I am nothing! So this issue to me revolves around this:

    Is regeneration (being born again) one of the benefits that come to believers “in Christ” when they are joined to him by faith or is it something God can do apart from being joined to Christ? I say the view that places regeneration “in Christ” by faith is more in line with the Scripture as well as gives Jesus more glory.

  39. Derek,

    Your illustrations are simply not analogues to your claims about faith and regeneration, nor do they portray the idea of two things “causing” each other. However, I won’t be able to deal with what you wrote in detail until sometime next week.

  40. JPC,

    I don’t think that regeneration is part of prevenient grace. Biblically, prevenient grace is not a “partial regeneration”, nor does it need to be.

  41. JPC,

    Thank you for your response. I wouldn’t say that the issue does not matter to me. However, Scripture does not seem to provide a definitive answer to the question, and I find logical arguments from both sides thoroughly convincing. It does not seem possible to have faith without being regenerate, and yet it does not seem possible to be regenerate without having faith. So I am basically forced to view these events as simultaneous and mutually interdependent. Like two sides of a coin.

    I do understand and affirm the logic of the classical Arminian view on this, and recognize it as orthodox. However, for me there is more to the picture, and it presses me to a middle position. I hope you can see that this is also driven by the study of Scripture and the application of logic. My position is decidedly Calvinistic due to the underlying monergistic cause. Nevertheless, I do not see any reason why an Arminian could not hold that faith and regeneration are simultaneous and mutually interdependent, with an Arminian/synergistic cause lying underneath.

    Again, to be clear, I am logically driven to my position by accepting these two statements as factual:

    A. Regeneration cannot occur apart from faith
    B. Faith cannot be exercised by one who is not regenerate

    Thus, I stand here:
    C. Faith and regeneration must be simultaneous and mutually interdependent.

    I would ask fellow Calvinists why they reject A, even as I ask Arminians why they reject B. And I would ask both whether they believe C to be possible, and why they believe it is better to accept only one of these statements than to accept all three.

    Blessings,
    Derek

  42. Theoparadox,
    Finishing work and resting from work are one and the same and not ‘mutually interdependent’ nor do they cause each other.

    what is there to do once you are finished other than resting?
    While it is possible to rest before finishing, resting can’t possibly cause finishing.

    Leaving father and leaving mother is a long way of saying leaving your parents. Leaving one does not cause the other. None causes the other as they are simultaneous without any logical ordering. It is finding the wife that causes BOTH.

    On clapping, one would never in their right mind claim that one hand causes the other to clap. Clapping is the PRODUCT; logical effect of BOTH hands coming together.

    Running in a circle. Go study vectors.

    Clearly you have no precedent of two things called regeneration and faith caused at the same time and then in turn causing each other nowhere. You should by now have given up giving ridiculous analogies.

    On the other hand, you have ample proof of EVERYTHING in Christ, as kangaroodort has amply demonstrated, proceeding from faith.

  43. theoparadox,
    You say
    “Nevertheless, I do not see any reason why an Arminian could not hold that faith and regeneration are simultaneous and mutually interdependent, with an Arminian/synergistic cause lying underneath.”

    The reason you ‘do not see’ is because this is because ‘mutual interdependence’ is both nonsensical and baseless. No two things can be ‘mutually interdependent’ in that they ’cause each other’ without logical ordering. If there was a rumor of truth in this from scriptures or logic, Arminians would take it like duck to water.

    Again, there is not even a whiff of regeneration occurring BEFORE faith anywhere. So you only have the Arminian position firmly supported by scriptures. Of course admitting so brings Calvinism down crashing hence all these hollow arguments to prop it

  44. Ben, just to clarify this is what I was referring to when I said that God regenerates the heart to a point (I was not referring to being born again or of the vivification and mortification that are the essential parts of regeneration). Here is a quote from Arminius which speaks to this from his works Vol. 1:

    “1. For the word “the unregenerate,” may be understood in two senses, (i.) Either as it denotes those who have felt no motion of the regenerating Spirit, or of its tendency or preparation for regeneration, and who are therefore, destitute of the first principle of regeneration. (ii.) Or it may signify those who are in the process of the new birth, and who feel those motions of the Holy Spirit which belong either to preparation or to the very essence of regeneration, but who are not yet regenerate; that is, they are brought by it to confess their sins, to mourn on account of them, to desire deliverance, and to seek out the Deliverer, who has been pointed out to them; but they are not yet furnished with that power of the Spirit
    by which the flesh, or the old man, is mortified, and by which a man, being transformed to newness of life, is rendered capable of performing works of righteousness.” Pg. 233

    If I caused any confusion with my wording I apologize but let me be clear that I believe 100% the regeneration comes after faith in the Ordo Salutis. This is an essential part or Arminianism in my opinion.

  45. @Vooke,

    So you actually don’t believe that any two events are (or can be) concurrent and mutually interdependent? This explains a lot. Thanks for being so candid.

  46. @Vooke,

    Some dictionary definitions that might help . . .

    Mutual:
    –(of a feeling or action) experienced or done by each of two or more parties toward the other or others. (Oxford)
    –Reciprocal; interchanged , each acting in return or correspondence to the other; given and received. (Webster’s 1828)

    Interdependence:
    –The dependence of two or more people or things on each other. (Oxford)

    cf. Dependence:
    –The state of relying on or being controlled by someone or something else. (Oxford)
    –Concatenation; connection by which one thing is sustained by another, in its place, operations or effects, or is affected by it. (Webster’s 1828)

    cf. Reciprocity:
    –the quality or state of being reciprocal : mutual dependence, action, or influence. (Merriam-Webster, emphasis added)

    By way of further illustration:
    Following a war, at the treaty ceremony, a constitution is established for a brand new nation. The constitution is signed by the new nation’s president and its prime minister. The constitution establishes both of these offices and states that the constitution itself is not valid until signed by the individuals holding these offices. The moment the signatures are executed, the offices of president and prime minister, and the constitution itself, become valid. Simultaneously, and with mutual interdependence, the following events occur:
    1. The constitution comes into force.
    2. The offices of the two signers come into being.

    The act of signing causes both of these events to occur at the same time, while the two events, in turn, reciprocally cause one another. At the moment of signing, the constitution establishes the offices of president and prime minister, the offices establish the constitution, and the act of signing establishes both concurrently. Voila — a new nation is born, two offices are created and a constitution goes into effect — all at the same time, and, logically, in a relationship of mutual interdependence.

    According to your reasoning above, one of these events had to cause the other. But in real life, that is obviously not the case. Ten thousand similar illustrations could be given, but I will spare you such a lengthy treatise.

    If you still cannot recognize the existence of this most basic and self-evident type of logical relationship, which is known as “reciprocity,” I fear no further explanation or illustration on my part will help at all. Feel free to pile on with all of the responses telling me how impossible, inapplicable and illogical this illustration is, etc. Sound reasoning and reality itself will refute your insistence without any help from me.

  47. theoparadox,
    No two things can be ‘mutually interdependent’ in that they CAUSE ‘each other’ without any regard to logical order. And even if there is any, regeneration and faith are not IT

  48. Derek, you stated that:

    “I do not see any reason why an Arminian could not hold that faith and regeneration are simultaneous and mutually interdependent, with an Arminian/synergistic cause lying underneath.”

    That is wrong on multiple levels.

    First, you are saying that there is a synergistic cause underneath. Now what would that cause be more specifically? Only faith can be that cause, so how can faith cause faith? This is as confusing as when you said:

    “How exactly does an unbeliever believe without being a believer?”

    You understand that the word believe is a present tense verb, right? It is something that you do just like, for example, running. Now think of the absurdity if I used your logic on this verb:

    How exactly does a non-runner run without being a runner?

    You know that answer as you have to start running to be a runner and in the same way you have to start believing to be a believer. You are identified by what you are at the present moment. This is not a paradox at all.

    Now you may reply with, how can an unregenerate sinner believe? That has already been answered yet you keep misrepresenting the Arminian position. It is called prevenient grace. Please stop the straw man arguments in this regard. It has been stated to you multiple times yet you keep ignoring it such as in your last response when you said:

    “B. Faith cannot be exercised by one who is not regenerate… even as I ask Arminians why they reject B.”

    Secondarily, Arminians cannot accept your “middle ground” position (I think it is actually a side-stepping position) because the issue of the logical order of faith and regeneration is of utmost importance. That is because if regeneration precedes faith, then all 5 points (not 10) of Calvinism necessarily follow. This issue falls under the first point of Calvinism as I believe their common understanding of total depravity is that God must first gift someone with faith and regeneration before they can believe. Arminians can counter that with prevenient grace which is resistible. That also explains why not all who hear the Gospel believe. It is not because they were not elected individually from eternity past (another error of Calvinism) but because they resisted the Holy Spirit when genuinely offered the Gospel. Your view would entail double predestination which I find to be a horrid doctrine.

  49. Derek,

    I see others have responded and you have responded further. I haven’t really looked at those discussions yet, so if what I wrote here echoes what others have written, I apologize for the redundancy.

    As I mentioned before, your new attempts at illustrating how faith and regeneration are interdependent, inter-related and cause each other (with no logical ordering) simply don’t cut it.

    On the resting analogy, we can just take finishing and resting as basically synonyms for the same thing. That is not the same as causing each other, and faith and regeneration are certainly not synonyms for the same thing. If we don’t take them as synonyms, then finishing would come logically first. One can rest without being finished, but resting logically follows finishing. Or we could say that finishing is the cause of resting. God rested because He finished. He didn’t finish because He rested.

    On the man leaving his mother and father, we have similar problems. One can simply see it as the man leaving them both simultaneously. That is what the text says. He leaves both. It does not suggest that leaving one is the cause of leaving the other. And leaving both simultaneously certainly does not mean that they are the cause of each other. His desire to leave both is the cause of leaving both. And not being able to do one thing without also doing something else does not mean those things cause each other. That is a wild and unfounded assertion.

    However, one act of leaving could be primary while still necessarily involving the leaving of the other. If one is primary, then that could be the cause of the other, but not vice versa simultaneously. For example, if the man wanted to leave his father, but not his mother, then leaving the father could be seen as the cause of leaving the mother. But that would give logical priority to leaving the father as the cause of leaving the mother. Otherwise, he is just leaving both at the same time.

    And desiring to marry would be the cause of leaving both. The man will not leave his mother and father if there is no one to marry. The relationship with the woman and desire to marry her comes logically before leaving the mother and father and is the cause of leaving the mother and father. You just assert that all these things somehow cause each other, but that is simply not the case. There is still a logical relationship that gives one action priority over the others, or there is a primary action that results in doing two things at the same time (as one action).

    You write: This is not like “the sound of one hand clapping.” It is more like two hands clapping. But which hand is hitting the other hand and causing the sound? Both, of course.

    Rather, the person moves the hands together simultaneously to produce a clap. The person moving the hands is primary and the cause of the clap. The hands are not causing each other to clap or to move towards each other. And as far as the sound, the hands hitting each other is the cause of the sound. The sound is certainly not the cause of two hands hitting each other, nor does the sound cause the hands to move. The sound is simultaneous to the action of the hands hitting, but the hands hitting is clearly the cause of the sound and therefore has logical priority. So this is just another confused and invalid analogy.

    The chasing example is also invalid. It is just an attempt to create an example while ignoring the details. Who started the game? The one who began the chase was the cause of chasing that person first. And even if you were to both decide to chase each other at the exact same time, it still would not be that each chasing the other caused the other to chase or to flee, since it was at the exact same time, and so one did not contribute to the other.

    There would seem to be a rather obvious reason why virtually nobody seems to hold to this view besides you, and it is not likely just because you are so innovative and your mind so much more broadly creative and bound to Scripture than anyone else. It is because it is an incoherent position and so it has not been seriously entertained by any serious theologian or philosopher. It is incoherent on its own merits and it is not in accord with the Biblical data which puts faith before every aspect of salvation. All the promises of the new covenant are received by faith, including regeneration. Why not just accept that, even if it means adjusting your theology? Why the need to create problems with Scripture when there are none there?

  50. Ben,

    As to the apparent uniqueness of my position, try this on for size:

    From a Southern Baptist perspective, it is interesting to note that the Baptist Faith and Message treats regeneration neither as prior to or subsequent from conversion. Rather, it treats regeneration and conversion as concomitant realities of the beginning of salvation. Separating the broad biblical concept of salvation into the four categories of regeneration, justification, sanctification, and glorification, article IV treats regeneration and conversion as part of one event. Regeneration is “a change of heart wrought by the Holy Spirit through conviction of sin, to which the sinner responds in repentance toward God and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.” What is the antecedent of “which”? Most likely it is “conviction of sin,” the nearest phrase. Regeneration does not precede conversion and vice versa.

    The Scripture itself does not set forth a clear ordo salutis (“order of salvation”) with respect to all of the terms that are used to describe salvation. Thus, speculating an ordo salutis is always problematic and should be avoided. The first generation of reformers refused to speculate in this area and even warned about such speculation. Later generations of the Reformed showed a willingness to seek, in the name of systematic theology, to pull back the curtain on that which God has not chosen to reveal in Scripture. As Malcolm Yarnell once said to me, “If one deigns to speak of a logical order from eternity apart from divine revelation, then one speaks with both ignorance and arrogance.”
    –Dr. David Allen (all bold text above is from Dr. Allen)

    I think Dr. Allen just made all of my points for me, and since the BFM is the accepted theological position of America’s largest denomination, you might reconsider your unfounded supposition that “virtually nobody seems to hold to this view besides you.”

    Moreover, Charles Spurgeon (who is, as you know, a great and influential Calvinist) stated:

    “The work of regeneration and the act of faith which brings justification to the penitent sinner are SIMULTANEOUS and must, in the nature of the case, always be so.”

    According to Dr. Richard Trader: “Spurgeon used an illustration to show the connection between regeneration and saving faith. He likened them as two spokes on a wagon wheel. Both of them had to move together as the wheel turned. Therefore, when a sinner is born again he has saving faith in Christ. Likewise, the believer with saving faith in Christ has been born again.”

    Being so stubborn as to ignore the obvious is one thing; being ignorant of history is another. Let’s try to move this conversation in the direction of knowledge and wisdom rather than leveling unfounded accusations.

  51. theoparadox,
    I think you are misquoting Spurgeon. Look at the bigger co text of the passage you are using;

    “….I am told that the teaching of certain people, nowadays, is that the Believer only gets pardon to begin with and a long time afterwards he gets the clean heart. But I say, on the authority of God’s Word, that no man is pardoned unless he has a clean heart! God gives the clean heart at the time He gives the pardon! You must never divide the renewing of the Holy Spirit from the pardon of sin. They go together and he that receives the pardon of sin receives a new birth—and is made a new creature in Christ Jesus then and there. The work of regeneration and the act of faith which brings justification to the penitent sinner are simultaneous and must, in the nature of the case, always be so….”- The Law’s Failure and Fulfillment

    He is charging those who separate regeneration from justification and insist that one can remain regenerated but in sin. It is these two he insists are simultaneous.

    Another quote of his shows you how he believed regeneration proceeded from faith;

    “…If you believe in Jesus Christ and Him crucified, in the moment that you believe, this great change of nature is effected in you, for faith has, in itself, a singularly transforming power. It is a fact in everyday experience that when a man comes to believe in his employer, he becomes, at once, a better employee. A person whom I disliked, because I suspected him, becomes, at once, pleasing to me as soon as I trust him. So, faith towards God, in itself, produces a total change of mind in the man who has it…”- Despised Light Withdrawn

    Faith can only have a ‘singularly transforming power’ if it is the cause of regeneration. Am sure kangaroodort will differ and insist the power is really of God effected once the faith condition is met. Either way, faith CAUSES regeneration, and is far from your ‘mutual interdependence’ and ’causes each other’ theories

  52. Derek,

    You write:

    I think Dr. Allen just made all of my points for me, and since the BFM is the accepted theological position of America’s largest denomination, you might reconsider your unfounded supposition that “virtually nobody seems to hold to this view besides you.”

    Is your appeal to the BFM or to Dr. Allen? Look at what the BFM says,

    “a change of heart wrought by the Holy Spirit through conviction of sin, to which the sinner responds in repentance toward God and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.”

    This language is ambiguous as it can mean either that regeneration results from faith or faith results from regeneration. It all depends on how it is read. It can be read that conviction of sin leads to faith and repentance which is the cause of regeneration, or it could possibly be read as regeneration being the change of heart that brings conviction which leads to faith and repentance. Either reading plainly puts one or the other logically first. Seizing on an ambiguity and claiming that it then means there is no logical ordering or that they cause each other is completely invalid.

    There is nothing in this statement that says there is no logical ordering between faith and regeneration,and there is certainly no indication that they cause each other. Neither does Allen suggest that they cause each other.

    And note that he is specifically speaking of logical ordering between “regeneration” and “conversion”, and not faith and regeneration. The only place that faith comes up is in the direct quote of the BFM, and again, in addition to being ambiguous, that does not say anything about faith and regeneration happening simultaneously with regards to logical ordering and it says nothing even close to suggesting that faith and regeneration cause each other. You are grasping badly here.

    So despite your rebuke that I am stubborn and ignorant of history, you still have not produced anything that agrees with your position as you have presented it here. As I said many times, I don’t have a problem with the two happening simultaneously with regards to temporal ordering (so the Spurgeon quote and subsequent comment by Trader are not helpful), nor do I have a problem with the idea of both being irresistible gifts given by God at the same time (that is not incoherent like your position, though it is contrary to the Biblical data).

    It is invalid for you to use quotes that do not really say what you are claiming as proof of your position, and it is improper to then rebuke me based on your misuse of quotes in an effort to make them say things they do not say to prop up your own bizarre claims about faith and regeneration being the inter-related and interdependent causes of each other with no logical ordering. Likewise, none of your “examples” have done the trick either. And yet, you keep pressing on with your incoherent assertions. So who is really being “stubborn” here?

  53. More from MacAurthur on faith and regeneration from his study Bible:

    On John 3:3-6,

    “New birth is an act of God whereby eternal life is imparted to the believer…Chapter 1:12, 13 indicates that “born again” also carries the idea “to become children of God” through trust in the name of the incarnate Word.”

    MacAurthur clearly sees faith as logically prior to regeneration. It is also significant that he sees regeneration as synonymous with eternal life, which is indisputably received by faith in Scripture (Calvinists like James White try to get around this by suggesting eternal life is something different from the life that begins in regeneration).

    The only difference between MacAurthur’s view and the Arminian view is that he sees the faith which leads to regeneration as an irresistible gift of God give to the elect alone. While he is wrong about that, at least it is not incoherent like Derek’s view.

  54. Unless Derek is quoting a different Dr. David Allen, this post further illustrates how badly he is misrepresenting Dr. Allen’s position in a desperate attempt to support his own:

    http://www.drdavidlallen.com/bible/does-regeneration-precede-faith/

    Vooke,

    Note Allen’s distinction between “instrumental cause” and “principle cause”. Instrumental cause is what we are both getting at, but to avoid confusion I prefer to just say that God causes regeneration in response to faith.

    God Bless.

  55. More from Dr. David Allen with specific reference to the BFM, showing that he sees the BFM as affirming that faith precedes regeneration. It just keeps getting worse and worse for Derek’s misuse of the above quote:

    I see no difference in the life given in regeneration and eternal life. I think you are correct that faith precedes eternal life. Faith also precedes regeneration, if only by a nanosecond.

    I think the definition of regeneration in the BFM is based on a combination of all the texts in the New Testament that speak of “regeneration,” “new birth,” or “born again.” See the texts that are listed at the bottom of the article “Salvation” in the BFM. Not all of these verses speak directly to regeneration since the article also covers justification, sanctification, and glorification.

    The article is using the biblical meaning of “heart” which incorporates the totality of the person: mind, will, and emotions. Regeneration is wholly the work of God as a result of repentance (a change of the mind) and faith (an act of the will whereby we trust Christ).

    Since repentance and faith are necessary preconditions for regeneration, it is obvious that Scripture understands regeneration to be what God does in the human heart as a result of repentance and faith. Repentance and faith is a change of the mind, heart, and will of the person toward sin and toward Christ—which results in God’s miraculous work of regeneration which is a spiritual change in a person’s life — they now possess eternal life. The whole process is initiated by God and actual regeneration is wholly a work of the Spirit of God on the human heart/mind/soul.

    You asked the question: “Does the choice to repent produce a ‘change of heart’, or does a ‘change of heart’ bring a man to repent?” The “change of heart” is the regeneration which is produced by the Holy Spirit alone. This is God’s response to repentance and faith, which is enabled by God’s grace through the preaching of the Word and the work of the Holy Spirit in conviction, etc.

    From: http://www.drdavidlallen.com/bible/does-regeneration-precede-faith/#comment-5668

    This fully comports with what I have said and how I suggested the BFM should probably be read (though the partial quote given by Derek was ambiguous). Dr. David Allen is thoroughly Arminian with regards to the ordo salutis as it relates to faith and regeneration.

  56. kangaroodort,
    I think you were right on point when you called out theoparadox for using extremely irrelevant examples to ‘prove’ his point. One would have been excused. Or even two. But EACH of his example misses the point. And he is unrepentant. Clearly he is least interested in the truth other than to support Calvinism by hook or crook by pretending to be a fence-sitter.

    And you are right about David Allen. Why would theoparadox ignore his clear articulation on faith preceding regeneration only to cling to ambiguities?

    Something about this theory of simultaneous faith and regeneration theory; if these two are independent and are only related by their concurrence,why does the Bible ascribe EVERYTHING to faith and not regeneration? Go back through all verse you shared on faith preceding/’causing’ Christian experiences such as justification,sanctification….and substitute faith with regeneration, and see how ridiculous you will sound.

  57. You guys are too much. If David Allen contradicts himself, I am not to blame for that. LOL. This has to end at some point prior to reaching the stage of fruitless quarreling about words, and I am happy to let it end here. Thanks for the interesting discussion.

    Blessings,
    Derek

  58. theoparadox,
    You are not too much, but shutting your eyes and hoping that not seeing the truth will make it go away

    Adios

  59. Derek,

    Dr. Allen did not contradict himself. Rather, you misunderstood his position and misused his quote (which in no way supported your position), and it is dead wrong for you to then try to lay the blame on Dr. Allen because you couldn’t twist his words well enough to conform to your claims. Wouldn’t it have been better and more God honoring to just admit that you made a simple mistake?

    You write: This has to end at some point prior to reaching the stage of fruitless quarreling about words, and I am happy to let it end here. Thanks for the interesting discussion.

    I will be happy to hold to that. Your comments will no longer be approved here.

  60. Derek’s comments are nuts. It’s like if I said that lots of Calvinists agree with Arminian doctrines, then found ambiguous, out-of-context quotes to support that, and then said, “Look, it’s not MY fault if they contradict themselves!” when confronted with my shoddy work. At best – at absolute best – it’s lazy and apathetic towards the actual truth. And at worst, it’s deliberately deceptive.

  61. Mackenzie,

    For me, it just seems like desperation in trying to defend the indefensible, and that desperation likely caused him to be less than careful.

  62. But to blame Dr. Allen is truly wild, as you point out.

  63. For long I have wondered why Calvinism insists on regeneration preceding faith. It just occurred to me that this is the very foundation of the entire philosophy.

    if faith preceded regeneration, then God would be bound to regenerate whoever believes which would contradict the calvinistic election.

    They get around this by insisting that regeneration is unconditional and is served by God on whoever He wills. But this runs into insurmountable odds as the scripture indicate the opposite. So theoparadox seeks a soft landing.. He concedes that regeneration does not precede faith, but he won’t admit that faith proceeds regeneration because that blows away his Calvinism. So he FORCES them to initiate simultaneously and independently.

    This does not help Calvinism since they insist both faith and regeneration are gifts, and that God damns the unregenerate and unbelievers over the very things he denied them.

    At this stage, they quickly appeal to ‘mystery’

  64. vooke,

    Yes, many Calvinists insist that regeneration precedes faith because that inevitability leads to the doctrine of unconditional election. One can hold to unconditional election without holding that regeneration precedes faith (like MacAurther) by simply affirming that faith is an irresistible gift given by God to the elect alone, even if it precedes regeneration. But if regeneration precedes faith and is the cause of faith, then it follows that all believers are only believers because God decided to regenerate them unto faith which forces the issue of unconditional election. That is why this is pushed so hard by many Calvinists. Once regeneration preceding faith is accepted, the rest of Calvinism naturally follows.

    The problem with Derek is that he is not content to hold to MacAurthur’s position, but to push it into incoherence by saying that faith and regeneration are the inter-related and interdependent cause of each other with no logical ordering. That is a fully incoherent position to take and simply cannot be rationally defended (as Derek has proven by his many invalid attempts above).

  65. Derek wrote,

    This has to end at some point prior to reaching the stage of fruitless quarreling about words, and I am happy to let it end here.

    Apparently, what Derek really meant here was that he was happy to leave the discussion with him getting the last word and a guarantee that we would not continue to discuss the subject without him. This seems to be the case based on a new comment he made which has not been approved,

    I do not expect you to publish this comment since you have conveniently elected to continue the discussion without me rather than letting it end as I suggested.

    Sorry Derek, but you removed yourself from this discussion and it is hard to understand why you think that saying you don’t want to continue means that we need stop, just because you think we should.

    Derek further appeals to us to engage in “charitable and humble Christian discussion” right after describing our further comments as “hilariously fruitless gloating” and displaying a “considerably well-developed talent for snarky and self-congratulatory anti-Calvinist rhetoric (which is admittedly entertaining to read).” Apparently, this is the sort of rhetoric that Derek finds compatible with the “charitable and humble Christian discussion” he admonishes us to take part in.

    He also suggests that the reason we cannot accept his reasoning is not because his arguments are irrational, but because we simply refuse to “open our minds” even “a little” so that we “might learn something.” This is unfortunately typical of discussions with Derek and this is the reason he has been moderated in the past as well. He can’t seem to imagine that the reason people reject his arguments is because they really do not make any sense. Instead, it is always an issue of those disagreeing not being as open minded or “Scriptural” as he is. We are just not willing to “learn” from him as we should.

    I assure you Derek, the reason I reject your arguments is not a matter of refusing to be open minded. It is a refusal to accept irrationality as truth simply because you insist we should.

    Derek also seems to feel slighted because there are apparently some “arguments” he made that we did not yet address. He points to an argument about a new nation and constitution. I didn’t see this argument as I only focused on posts written to me. But I will be happy to address it if Derek demonstrates the willingness he has expressed to engage in “charitable and humble Christian discussion”. For me, that begins by “humbly” and “charitably” admitting that he misunderstood and misused a quote to prop up his argument that did not actually support his argument at all. I would further suggest that he apologize for then blaming the author of the comment for fault rather than finding the fault in himself instead. I think that is only fair.

    Derek has made several suggestions for us. This is my suggestion for him. I will await his response.

  66. Let me amend my above comment to say that while I primarily focused on comments that were directed at me or regarding my comments, I did respond some to Derek’s comments to others. However, I had not read the one directed to Vooke that included the “nation” argument until just now.

  67. Reblogged this on SOTERIOLOGY 101 and commented:
    When a notable scholar of the Calvinistic framework denies the concept of pre-faith regeneration other Calvinists should at least pause and reconsider their own view of the subject. Dr. MacArthur is not biased against the claims of Calvinism, yet he recognizes (as did Spurgeon) that their is simply no biblical support for this resurging perspective.

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