Great Quotes: Merrill C. Tenney on John 1:12-13 And Faith Preceding Regeneration

This provides the initial definition of ‘believe’ by equating it with ‘receive.’ When we accept a gift, whether tangible or intangible, we thereby demonstrate our confidence in its reality and trustworthiness. We make it part of our own possessions. By being so received, Jesus gives to those who receive him a right to membership in the family of God.

‘Become’ indicates clearly that people are not the spiritual children of God by natural birth, for we cannot become what we already are. This verb implies a change of nature. The word children (tekna) is parallel to the Scottish bairns– “born ones.” It emphasizes the vital origin and is used as a term of endearment (cf. Luke 15:31). Believers are God’s ‘little ones,’ related to him by birth.” (The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, ed. Frank E. Gaebelein, pg. 32)

The implications are obvious.  The new birth is received by faith and we become God’s children through faith.  John 1:12 simply cannot be made to comport with the Calvinist claim that regeneration precedes faith.  Indeed, it proves that contention false.

Related:

Dr. Brian Abasciano on the Conditionality  Implied in Romans 9:16 and its Connection to John 1:12-13

The Arminian and Calvinist Ordo Salutis: A Brief Comparative Study

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

3 thoughts on “Great Quotes: Merrill C. Tenney on John 1:12-13 And Faith Preceding Regeneration

  1. Excellent point….Equating gift believe with receive. Yes, in Calvinism, one does not “receive” the gift, in the indeterministic, sense as an autonomous individual..the gift is involuntarily implanted into the person. Once the gift is implanted, it functions to alter voluntary choice. This follows the model of monergism.

    But I feel I’ve discovered a significant key for understanding the psychology of Calvinisms, which was pointed to by William Lane Craig. Calvinism incorporates *AS-IF* thinking/speaking/writing.

    The Calvinist is to:
    1) Believe [A]: That *ALL* things (without exception) are determined in advance by god, such that all choices are “NOT UP TO US”.

    While at the same time:

    2) Speak and write *AS-IF* [A] is not true. (i.e. to speak and write AS-IF man has a degree of autonomy, where choices “ARE UP TO US”

    Dr. Craig ascribes this to Calvinism’s psychology, and it is actually taught by Calvin himself. This psychology of double-think serves two purposes.

    1) It allows Calvinism to retain a form of credibility within general Christianity, by speaking determinism out of one face, and indeterminism out of another.
    2) It allows the individual Calvinist to assume God’s intentions as always benevolent, while his theology dictates the opposite.

    Blessings!

  2. Yeah I found it funny that semi-palagianism and armenianism have been condemned by the church four separate times as heresy but Armenians accused calvinist of twisting the scripture Man’s Free Will is just not in there it has nothing to do with salvation and belief is the work of God how can someone who is dead in trespasses and sin believe and considering the fact that salvation is the free gift of God why is it that you have to do something to obtain it something that the scripture says we are incapable of doing

  3. Hello Mr. Roach,

    Wow, pretty much got it all off your chest in one run-on sentence. Impressive. BTW, they are called Arminians, not Armenians.

    If by some chance you are interested in learning rather than just ranting, feel free to look around a bit as all of your arguments have been answered many times here in numerous posts. And if you are going to comment in the future, please stay on topic. In case you missed it, this post was about properly interpreting John 1:12-13.

    God Bless,
    Ben

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s