May 27, 2009

Berkouwer ordo salutis

"Abraham Kuyper once noted a difference between older and newer terminology in the subject of faith and grace. The Belgic Confession uses the older terminology in Article 24, where we read: "We believe that this true faith, being wrought in man by the hearing of the Word of God and the operation of the Holy Spirit, regenerates him and makes him a new man, causing him to live a new life, and freeing him from the bondage of sin." The relation between faith and regeneration as found here is suggestive of Calvin's statement "that we are regenerated by faith." The newer terminology is that used by later theologians, who limit regeneration in the ordo salutis to the beginning of the new life. Kuyper spoke of the older Reformation and confessional terminology as the result of an "unfinished conception," of which the later, more limited, idea of regeneration was "the consistent development." Kuyper approved this development, but not simply out of love for system. The refinement of terminology resulted, according to him, from a desire to protect the Reformed concept from misconception.

Nevertheless, we cannot share Kuyper's attitude toward the words of the confession. Kuyper said that later theologians abandoned "this more or less questionable manner of speech and set regeneration more in the foreground." He went on to say that the confession contained a "subjective conception." Here Kuyper's criticism of the confession suggests, I think, that he puts too m uch importance on the arrangement of the steps in the ordo salutis. The decisive point is the way in which faith is related to God's grace. And this was in the confession, as it was in Calvin, above reproach. It is just as unreasonable to brand the formulation which we find in Calvin and the confession as subjective conceptions as it is to charge post-confessional development with shifting interest from grace to man. Faith involves a certain subjectivity, but a subjectivity which has meaning only as it is bound to the gospel.

This is precisely the marvel of the work of the Holy Ghost--that He is the origin of this faith. It is not the order as such that is decisive. It is how one understands God's salvation that determines whether sovereign divine grace is properly respected. To make a system of a certain order of salvation does not insure purity of doctrine. Nor does simplifying the ordo salutis guarantee a pure confession of grace."
("Faith and justification" By Gerrit Cornelis Berkouwer, Lewis B. Smedes. pg. 30)

See here

These are good words from Berkouwer and Smedes. I agree with them that the ordo of Kuyper was an innovation or hybrid view, and not that of the first Calvinist Reformers. Though these "refiners" imagined that they were improving Calvinism, they nevertheless miserably failed, making things worse.

May 26, 2009

Addendum - Piper on Glorification

Under a subtitle "Why Is Sanctification Not Mentioned in the Chain?" Piper wrote (emphasis mine):

"First, where is "sanctification" in the chain of these verses? You recall what "sanctification" is. It was the theme of chapter six. Remember verse 22: "But now having been freed from sin and enslaved to God, you derive your benefit, resulting in sanctification, and the outcome, eternal life." So sanctification is the gradual process of our becoming holy which leads to eternal life.

Why is it not mentioned in this unbreakable chain in Romans 8:29-30? Paul mentions five links in the chain: Those whom he (1) foreknew he predestined; and those whom he (2) predestined he called; and those whom he (3) called, he justified; and those whom he (4) justified, he (5) glorified. Why didn't he say, "And those whom he justified he sanctified, and those whom he sanctified he glorified"?

The reason this matters is that someone might say, "Well, since it's not in the chain, it's either not necessary for heaven like the others, or it is not the work of God the way the others are." Both of those inferences would be a deadly mistake. Sanctification is necessary for heaven. That is why Romans 6:22 says that the outcome of your sanctification is eternal life! (See Hebrews 12:14; Galatians 5:21; 1 Corinthians 6:9). And that makes it all the more important that it is indeed God's work in us, so that the necessity of it doesn't throw us back on ourselves. It throws us desperately on God.

For example, Paul says in Philippians 1:6, "For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus." And Philippians 2:12b-13, "Work out your salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure." And 1 Corinthians 15:10, "But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me did not prove vain; but I labored even more than all of them, yet not I, but the grace of God with me."

So sanctification is both necessary and the work of God. So why is it not mentioned between justification and glorification. I think the reason is that in Paul's mind sanctification is included in glorification. So, in effect, he does make it part of the chain. Now why do I think this? What's the Biblical basis for it?

It comes from 2 Corinthians 3:18. Paul describes here how we are changed into the likeness of Christ — that is how we are sanctified. It happens by looking to Christ — the spiritual sight we talked about earlier (note the context!). He says, "But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit."

Now what is so relevant in this verse for us is the word "glory." Our gradual change into the image of Christ is, Paul says, a moving "from glory to glory." And he says this is from the Lord. This is essentially the work of the Lord. So being glorified in Paul's mind is not only the final transformation at the end of the age at the resurrection when we get out new bodies; it is also the process of moving morally and spiritually toward that goal.

So in Paul's mind, when he said in Romans 8:30, "the justified are glorified" he meant, God works to make sure that those whom he justified move from one degree of glory to the next (sanctification) (and regeneration too, SG) and finally reach perfection with new and glorious bodies like Christ's (Hebrews 12:23; Philippians 3:21). So your progressive sanctification — your becoming like Jesus — is as sure and as firmly planned and worked by God as is your election and predestination and calling and justification and final glory."

Piper is correct here. When, in other writings, however, he attempts to put regeneration before justification, sanctification, and glorification, he is contradicting what he says in places like this where he puts sanctification (and logically, therefore, regeneration) as part of glorification, or what follows calling and justification.

See here

Sanctification is Glorification - Packer

J.I. Packer wrote:

"Paul's use of glory in 2 Corinthians 3:18 shows that for him sanctification of character is glorification begun. Then the physical transformation that gives us a body like Christ's, one that will match our totally transformed character and be a perfect means of expressing it, will be glorification completed (Phil. 3:20-21; 1 Cor. 15:49-53)." (emphasis mine)

Sanctification - The Christian Grows in Grace
J.I. Packer (from Concise Theology)

See here

If Packer is correct (and he is), then he is contradictory when he says that regeneration precedes justification and glorification.

If glorification encompasses sanctification, and sanctification encompasses regeneration, then regeneration follows calling and justification.

Pauline Ordo Salutis?

"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified." (Romans 8: 28-30 NIV)

Does Paul give us an inspired "ordo salutis" in this passage? Does he list the parts of salvation in a logical or chronological order? Some think yes, while others think no.

I believe there is a divine "ordo" in these words. Those who reject the idea of an "ordo" in these words will often ask rhetorically - "then where are regeneration and sanctification in the order?" Or, "why are regeneration and sanctification omitted?"

Is the "calling" the same as regeneration or new birth? If so, then it precedes justification and glorification. Or, is "calling" a post regeneration "conversion," as some affirm?

If "calling" be regeneration, then the Hyperist has an argument in affirming that regeneration precedes justification. But, if "calling" be conversion, that which is by faith in the gospel, then where is regeneration? Is it part of justification or of glorification?

The Catholics, because they do not see justification as strictly forensic, and believe in "infused" righteousness as well as "imputed" righteousness, make sanctification a part of justification. But, Protestants, for the most part, have viewed justification as strictly forensic, and sanctification as internal renovation, and put it after justification in the order of things. However, those Protestants, like the "Reformed" Calvinists, or Hyperists, who put regeneration before justification, are following the ordo salutis of Rome.

I believe rather that regeneration or transformation or renewing is contemplated under the term "glorification," and therefore it is what logically follows calling (conversion, or faith and repentance), and justification or pardon.

But, how can "glorification" be equated with regeneration or transformation?

John Piper wrote (emphasis mine):

"The transformation that comes from beholding the glory of Christ in the gospel happens incrementally. "Beholding the glory of the Lord, (we) are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another." Speaking of our transformation in terms of "glory" shows that Christian glorification begins at conversion, not at death or resurrection. In fact, in Paul's mind sanctification is the first phase of glorification." (God is the Gospel By John Piper, pg. 93)

See here

First, I agree with John Piper. The passage cited by Piper from Paul prove that glorification is connected with spiritual renewal and transformation, or regeneration. Conversion is the first phase, or beginning of sanctification; And, regeneration is part of sanctification. If regeneration, or conversion, is part of glorification, then it properly follows both calling and justification.

Romans 8: 28-30, when rightly interpreted, refutes the ordo salutis of both Arminians and Hyper Calvinists.

I plan on elaborating on these verses in the book I am working on, called "The Ordo Salutis Debate."

"But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord." (II Corinthians 3: 18 KJV)

May 25, 2009

Paul's Conversion the Pattern

“Paul as Pattern Convert”

A Sermon (excepts) Delivered by C. H. Spurgeon at the Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington, London

“Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first, Jesus Christ might show forth all long-suffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting.” (1 Timothy 1:16)

"It is a vulgar error that the conversion of the apostle Paul was an uncommon and exceptional event, and that we cannot expect men to be saved now-a-days after the same fashion. It is said that the incident was an exception to all rules, a wonder altogether by itself. Now, my text is a flat contradiction to that notion, for it assures us that, instead of the apostle as a receiver of the longsuffering and mercy of God being at all an exception to the rule, he was a model convert, and is to be regarded, as a type and pattern of God’s grace in other believers. The apostle’s language in the text, “for a pattern,” may mean that he was what printers call a first proof, an early impression from the engraving, a specimen of those to follow. He was the typical instance of divine long-suffering, the model after which others are fashioned. To use a metaphor from the artist’s studio, Paul was the ideal sketch of a convert, an outline of the work of Jesus on mankind, an example of divine long-suffering. Just as artists make sketches in charcoal as the basis of their work, which outlines they paint out as the picture proceeds, so did the Lord in the apostle’s case make, as it were, an outline sketch of his usual work of grace. That outline in the case of each future believer he works out with infinite variety of skill, and produces the individual Christian, but the guiding lines are really there. All conversions are in a high degree similar to this pattern conversion. The transformation of persecuting Saul of Tarsus into the apostle Paul is a typical instance of the work of grace in the heart."

"In the very midst of his rebellion the Lord saved him! He had not prayed to be converted, far from it; no doubt he had that very day along the road to Damascus profaned the Savior’s name, and yet mighty mercy burst in and saved him purely by its own spontaneous native energy. Oh mighty grace, free grace, victorious grace! This was long-suffering indeed!

When divine mercy had called Paul, it swept all his sin away, every particle of it, his blood shedding and his blasphemy, all at once, so that never man was more assured of his own perfect cleansing than was the apostle."


I do not say that we may expect to receive the miraculous revelation which was given to Paul, but yet it is a sketch upon which any conversion can be painted. The filling up is not the same in any two cases, but the outline sketch. Paul’s conversion would serve for an outline sketch of the conversion of any one of us. How was that conversion wrought? Well, it is clear that there was nothing at all in Paul to contribute to his salvation. You might have sifted him in a sieve, without finding anything upon which you could rest a hope that he would be converted to the faith of Jesus. His natural bent, his early training, his whole surroundings, and his life’s pursuits, all lettered him to Judaism, and made it most unlikely that he would ever become a Christian. The first elder of the church that ever talked to him about divine things could hardly believe in his conversion. “Lord,” said he, “I have heard by many of this man, how much evil he hath done to thy saints at Jerusalem.” He could hardly think it possible that the ravening wolf should have changed into a lamb. Nothing favorable to faith in Jesus could have been found in Saul; the soil of his heart was very rocky, the ploughshare could not touch it, and the good seed found no root-hold. Yet the Lord converted Saul, and he can do the like by other sinner, but it must be a work of pure grace and of divine power, for there is not in any man’s fallen nature a holy spot of the size of a pin’s point on which grace can light. Transforming grace can find no natural lodgment in our hearts, it must create its own soil; and, blessed be God, it can do it, for with God all things are possible. Nature contributes nothing to grace, and yet grace wins the day. Humbled soul, let this cheer thee. Though there is nothing good in thee, yet grace can work wonders, and save thee by its own might.

Paul’s conversion was an instance of divine power, and of that alone, and so is every true conversion. If your conversion is an instance of the preacher’s power, you need to be converted again; if your salvation is the result of your own power, it is a miserable deception, from which may you be delivered. Every man who is saved must be operated upon by the might of God the Holy Spirit: every jot and tittle of true regeneration is the Spirit’s work. As for our strength, it warreth against salvation rather than for it. Blessed is that promise, “Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power.” Conversion is as much a work of God’s omnipotence as the resurrection; and as the dead do not raise themselves, so neither do men convert themselves.

But Saul was changed immediately. His conversion was once done, and done at once. There was a little interval before he found peace, but even during those three days he was a changed man, though he was in sadness. He was under the power of Satan at one moment, and in the next he was under the reign of grace. This is also true in every conversion. However gradual the breaking of the day, there is a time when the sun is below the horizon, and a moment when he is no longer so. You may not know the exact time in which you passed from death to life, but there was such a time, if you are indeed a believer. A man may not know how old he is, but there was a moment in which he was born. In every conversion there is a distinct change from darkness to light, from death to life, just as certainly as there was in Paul’s. And what a delightful hope does the rapidity of regeneration present to us! It is by no long and laborious process that we escape from sin. We are not compelled to remain in sin for a single moment.

Grace brings instantaneous liberty to those who sit in bondage. He who trusts Jesus is saved on the spot. Why, then, abide in death? Why not lift up your eyes to immediate life and light?

Paul proved his regeneration by his faith. He believed unto eternal life. He tells us over and over again in his epistles that he was saved by faith, and not by works. So is it with every man; if saved at all, it is by simply believing in the Lord Jesus. Paul esteemed his own works to be less than nothing, and called them dross and dung, that he might win Christ, and so every converted man renounces his own works that he may be saved by grace alone. Whether he has been moral or immoral, whether he has lived an amiable and excellent life, or whether he has raked in the kennels of sin, every regenerate man has one only hope, and that is centered and fixed in Jesus alone. Faith in Jesus Christ is the mark of salvation, even as the heaving of the lungs or the coming of breath from the nostrils is the test of life. Faith is the grace which saves the soul, and its absence is a fatal sign. How does this fact affect you, dear friend? Hast thou faith or no?"

See here

Fallen Christian Soldiers

Memorial Day

Christians have their own "fallen soldiers." Some of them we call "martyrs." These died for their loyalty and witness to Christ. We honor their memory. We identify with them. We pray for those today who are murdered for the sake of the gospel and who suffer great persecution for his name. Many of their names are in the New Testament's "hall of fame," or "hall of faith," as enumerated in Hebrews chapter eleven.

But, every Christian is a "witness," and the Greek word for "martyr" literally means "witness," though not necessarily a dead one. If he is a true witness, with genuine convictions, he will die for his faith.

Christians are "soldiers."

"No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier." (II Tim. 2: 4 KJV)

Christian soldiers! Warriors of righteousness! Recruits of Jesus! What a battle we face from day to day!

"Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints." (Ephesians 6: 10-18 NIV)

If we are genuine soldiers of Commander Jesus, then we can be assured that though we often lose battles with sin, temptation, error, etc., we are assured of final victory in the war. But, we must become good soldiers, prepared for the battles, and so the need for preparation and training in the use of God's armor, the "armor of light." (Romans 13: 12)

So, today as we remember the "fallen in Israel," those who have given their lives for the gospel and for the sake of Christ, as the apostles, so today do we living soldiers re-dedicate our lives to the fight.

God Makes It Live & Grow

"I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase. So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase." (I Corinthians 3: 6, 7 KJV)

By God "giving increase" to the planting and watering of the disciples with the word of God, he means his causing germination and growth. Again, we recall the words of the Psalmist who said - "Except the LORD build the house, they labour in vain that build it: except the LORD keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain." (Psalm 127: 1 KJV)

All is made to depend upon the blessing of God. Seed does not grow and produce fruit apart from God's blessing it, or causing it to be productive.

Paul again lays the ultimate and final reason for why one becomes a Christian and another does not, though both hear the gospel and have equal opportunity for salvation. In the one case, it was blessed and made to germinate and grow. In the other, it was labor in vain, building in vain, for the Lord did not bless or give increase.

Why The Difference?

"For who maketh thee to differ from another? and what hast thou that thou didst not receive? now if thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory (boast, brag, or take credit), as if thou hadst not received it?" (I Corinthians 4: 7 KJV)

These words of Paul argue very forcefully for unconditional election and particular redemption. No Christian can say he is different from the non-Christian because of his own free will and effort. If the difference between being saved or lost is ultimately left to the will of the sinner, then ultimately it is the sinner who makes himself to differ from another.

Paul says God is the author of this great difference. He chooses who is to be saved, according to his own sovereign will and pleasure. (See Romans 9 and Ephesians 1)

Why is one man different from another? Why, when the gospel is preached, does one man believe and repent, and another does not? Shall we lay the reason to the will of the sinner or to the will of God?

How does God make one to differ from another? Is it not because he "gives" to one what he denies to another? Is this not what Lord God was saying to Moses when he said:

"And the LORD said unto him, Who hath made man's mouth? or who maketh the dumb, or deaf, or the seeing, or the blind? have not I the LORD?" (Exodus 4: 11 KJV)

Thus, a man sees because God gave that man the faculty of sight. Another, who is blind, sees not because God gave him not the gift of vision. Likewise, one man hears, for God gives him the gift of hearing ears. Another, however, who is deaf, hears not because God gave him not the gift of hearing. Further, this denial of such "gifts" is viewed as God "making" or causing the blindness and deafness. So, who is it that "makes the difference" in these things?

Arminian theologian, Robert Piricilli, wrote (emphasis mine):

"Paul gives reason why pride is unjustified (v. 7). In essence, the reason is that God gives to men anything they have, and therefore no one has any grounds for self-glorying. Paul makes this point by asking three rhetorical questions, each leading to the next. The first one, "Who makes you different (from anyone else)?" might be answered in either of two ways: "No one makes you difference, in that you are all basically the same"; or "God is the one who makes one different from another." Some commentators assume one, some the other; I am more inclined to the latter.

Certainly that is the implication of the second question: No one has anything that he did not receive (implied: from God). Any talents or gifts that men have must be traced, ultimately, to God as their source. So what if one person has a native intelligence that others do not possess? He certainly did not get it for himself. All the more with spiritual gifts: each one is a manifestation of the grace of God (back to 1: 4-7 again; cf. 12: 11).

The third question obviously follows: then if every good thing a person has is something received (from God), how can he possibly justify glorying (boasting) as though he took it by his own doing? Answer: he cannot. And Paul's point has now become very clear. At first he had been speaking of himself and Apollos as simply doing what God gave them to do in His service. Now he means for the Corinthians to see that this applies to them, too. They have no right to glory in Paul or Apollos; neither do they have any right to glory in themselves. They are nothing more or less than God has made of them--even though what God makes of a man depends, in part, on how man develops or utilizes the capacities God gives him."

Randall House Bible Commentary By Robert E. Picirilli (pg. 54)

See here

"John answered and said, A man can receive nothing, except it be given him from heaven." (John 3: 27 KJV)

"Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning." (James 1: 17 KJV)

These verses are further evidence of the same fact. A man is different because God made him different and no one can boast in anything, for all that he is, or all that he has, is owing to God's gifting.

"Except the LORD build the house, they labour in vain that build it: except the LORD keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain." (Psalm 127: 1 KJV)

So long as such verses are in the Bible I can never assent to Arminian free will theology. Success, victory, and safety are all of the Lord. (Proverbs 21: 31) His blessing of a work is the all determining factor of whether it succeed or not. All is vanity apart from God's blessing.

Spurgeon - Life By Faith

Brother Phil Johnson at pyromanics has a weekly citation from Spurgeon. This week's citation was interesting to me. Hyper Calvinists, like the Hardshells, often argue that the gospel cannot be a means in regeneration because the gospel is food and drink, and such can never be a means in giving life, but only a means for preserving life. From the citation from Spurgeon, one might think he agreed with the Hypers, except for his one statement that says that sinners have "life through believing on him," that is, have life through faith.

"OBSERVE carefully the order in which our Lord puts the two blessings he mentions;—first, life through believing on him, and then food to sustain that life;—first, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life;" and next to that, "I am that bread of life." Life comes first, and food follows afterwards. It is impossible for a dead man to feed, or to be fed; only the living can eat and drink."

See here

Were it not for Spurgeon's statement about life through believing, I might think he denied that the gospel brings life.

The Gift of Repentance

"And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will." (II Timothy 2: 24-26 KJV)

"Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins." (Acts 5:31 KJV)

"When they heard these things, they held their peace, and glorified God, saying, Then hath God also to the Gentiles granted repentance unto life." (11: 18)

God commands all to repent but he does not give repentance to all. He desires all men to repent, but he especially desires it for his chosen people. God invites all to repentance, but the elect he effectually draws to it.

So, not only is faith a gift of God, but so also is repentance.

May 23, 2009

"The Gracious Gifts" - Rom. 11:29

"God's gracious gifts and calling are irrevocable." (Romans 11: 29)

Notice the plurality of God's beneficence, "ta charismata," or "the gracious gifts."

What is included in this category, styled "the gifts of God" (KJV)? What, if anything, is excluded?

Is salvation included? Is it one of "the gifts"? What about faith and repentance? What about calling?

Though "calling" is named specifically apart from "the gifts," it is not therefore excluded from the category of "the gifts."

The Arminian who denies that faith and repentance, and every other grace of salvation, is a "gift" of God, must exclude them from "the gifts" of Romans 11: 26.

Faith is God's Gift

"All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out." (John 6: 37 KJV)

In John 6 "coming to Christ" is equivalent to believing on Christ, and believing on Christ is equated with receiving Christ, or the truth concerning Christ.

The "giving" of sinners to Christ, by the Father, is a divine act that precedes the act of sinners coming to Christ. Those who come to Christ are the same number who were previously given to Christ by the Father. The Father chooses sinners to be this gift. Thus, "all who the Father gave to me" is equivalent to "all who the Father chose to salvation," or "all the elect."

All the elect will come to Christ, will be made to live by faith. That is what Jesus is affirming. This the Calvinist recognizes. Coming to Christ is not the cause of being chosen, but the effect. Jesus did not say - "all who come to me will be chosen (given to me by the Father)."

This choice of the Father, of sinners to be given to Christ, is not based upon a foresight of faith. If it was, then the text would be interpreted to say - "all who the Father foresaw would come to him (believe) shall come to me (believe)." Such would be a kind of tautology. Is Jesus simply saying that what God foresaw would come to pass will come to pass? By the Arminian theory of election based upon foreseen faith, this is simply all Christ is saying. "All whom God foresaw would believe, will believe." Or "all shall come to me whom the Father foresaw shall come."

I see the passage as saying that all whom God chose to draw to Christ, or to give faith and salvation unto, shall certainly be successfully drawn to Christ, given faith and salvation.

"And he said, Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father." (verse 65)

Most Arminians are not willing to confess that faith, or coming to Christ, is a "gift" of God. It is, conversely, the Calvinists, who assert that faith, even conversion (coming to Christ), is the gift of God. Some will even try to get the Calvinist to affirm that Ephesians 2:8 says that "faith" is the "gift of God." Some Calvinists will affirm that "faith" is the "gift." Others will not. If a Calvinist affirms that the passage identifies "faith" as that which is "given," the Arminian will show him how in the Greek it cannot be. At this point, the Arminian feels that he has refuted the Calvinistic notion that "faith" is a "gift" of God, given to some, but not to others.

But, though Ephesians 2: 8 does not specifically identify "faith" as the "gift" of God, other passages do. In the above passage, Jesus clearly says that "coming to him," or "believing," is "given to him of my Father." Paul also affirmed the same, writing:

"For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake..." (Philippians 1: 29)

Other passages also affirm that faith is given of God. So, why deny it?

"No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day." (vs. 44)

Why am I a Calvinist? Because Jesus taught, in John 6, sovereign unconditional election to faith and salvation. Because he taught the total depravity of man and his utter dependence upon divine grace for salvation.

John 6 teaches the election of grace. It teaches total depravity. It teaches effectual calling. It teaches that none of the elect and called will be lost.

Belgic Confession & Ordo Salutis

The Belgic Confession is a "Reformed" confession of the sixteenth century. Notice how these first Calvinists and Reformers did not put regeneration prior to faith.

"We believe that this true faith, being wrought in man by the hearing of the Word of God and the operation of the Holy Spirit, regenerates him and makes him a new man, causing him to live a new life, and freeing him from the bondage of sin." (Article 24)

See here

May 22, 2009

Lehman Strauss on Means

Strauss wrote:

"The Word of God assures us that all one needs in order to pass from death to life is to believe the facts and receive the Saviour. Our Lord Himself said, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on Him that sent Me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation, but is passed from death unto life” (John 5:24). So you see that without the Word of God a man cannot be regenerated, or born again. This is why people are not being born again in churches where the Word of God is not preached and taught."

"Regeneration, Justification and Sanctification"

See here

Wuest on Ordo Salutis

Kenneth Wuest - Justification precedes Regeneration

"In John 1: 12, justification precedes regeneration in the divine economy. Mercy is only given on the basis of justice satisfied." (Word Studies, page 41)

"But under the divine government of the universe, there were two things that stood in God's way of making human beings His children, the fact that they were not His children by birth and the fact that they were law-breakers. The first could easily have been remedied by regeneration, but the thing that stood in the way of this act of mercy on God's part was the fact that human beings are sinners, and God's justice demands that sin be paid for before mercy can be righteously bestowed. This is clearly recognized in John 1: 12 where the Greek work translated "power" was a technical expression used in the law courts for a legal right to be or do something. The word "sons" is not from our word huios here but from teknon, and should be translated "children." To those who received the Lord Jesus as their Saviour, as the One who died in their stead on the Cross, thus satisfying the justice of God in view of man's sin, God gave the legal right to become His children."

"Regeneration is therefore dependent upon justification, since an act of mercy in a law court can only be justly based upon the fact of the law being satisfied in the punishment of the crime committed. In human law courts this is impossible, for the prisoner cannot be punished and be set free at the same time" (pg. 92)

Word Studies in the Greek New Testament, for the English Reader

See here


See here

May 21, 2009

Braaten on Justification & Birth

Under the chapter heading "The Soteriological Place of Justification," Carl E. Braaten, writes:

"Tillich was aware that if justification by grace through faith is the heart of the Christian experience of salvation, the question is bound to arise: How does one get such a faith? How is it possible to attain faith, if there is nothing good enough within human beings to generate or motivate it? If the will lies in radical bondage to sin, death, and the power of the devil, whence the power of the will to believe? Tillich works out his answer by dealing with the relations between regeneration, justification, and sanctification. Here Tillich is walking carefully through a mine field strewn with many booby traps. We have argued for placing the emphasis on the priority of justification in the process of salvation, but Tillich surprisingly places regeneration before justification, and thus moves in the direction of the pietists who stressed the new birth, the need to be born again. Tillich sees the danger lying on one extreme or the other, and so he tries to mediate between the two, achieving a synthesis of what is supposedly true in each of them.

The Reformers were right in putting justification ahead of regeneration to prevent any notion that one's subjective state of being born again is the causal ground of being accepted by God. Otherwise, there is no escaping the anxious questioning of the soul. Have I really been born again? If there is any doubt about this, there is doubt about the good news of God's acceptance of me, in spite of my doubt and osciallating subjective feelings. For the sake of the "in spirt of" character of justification, the radical objectivity of justification as the originating source of God's gracious acceptance of me should never be compromised."
(48, 49)

Justification: the article by which the church stands or falls
By Carl E. Braaten
Published by Fortress Press, 1990

This is simply more evidence that the first "Reformers" and leading spokemen for historic Calvinism all put justification before regeneration and sanctification, contrary to the Romanist view.

See here

Forlines on Justification & Birth

Forlines wrote (emphasis mine):

"The second assumption of Calvinism (Hyper Calvinism - SG) is that total depravity precludes the response of faith from the sinner unless he is first regenerated by the Holy Spirit. As I pointed out earlier, the view that the nature of depravity requires that the sinner be regenerated before he or she can respond with faith, had its origins with Augustine."

"To place regeneration before faith, poses some serious problems for Calvinism (Hyper Calvinism - SG). This was dealt with in Chapter 13. I will restate this problem below. For a more thorough treatment please refer back to "An Inconsistency in Calvinism" (pp. 260-62)

Calvinism (Hyper SG) is faced with two important impossibilities. (1) It is impossible for a person to believe unless he or she is first regenerated. (2) It is impossible for sanctification to take place prior to justification. A Classical Calvinist (Hyper SG) will not argue against either of these statements. In Chapter 13, I gave support for these two assertions from Robert Haldane and Louis Berkhof. The Calvinistic credentials of these men are not in question.

In Classical Calvninism (Hyper SG), the order is regeneration, faith, justification, and sanctification. In placing regeneration before justification Calvinism (Hyper SG) has a problem. By anybody's definition, regeneration is a life-changing experience. Berkhof tells us that "regeneration is the beginning of sanctification." If regeneration is the beginning of sanctification, this means the Classical Calvinism (Hyper SG) has the process of sanctification beginning before justification occurs. This cannot be!

Calvinists have, by and large, adhered to the satisfaction view of atonement and justification. If a person is consistent in developing the implications of the satisfaction view of atonement, it is clear that God cannot perform the act of regeneration (an act of sanctification) in a person before he or she is justified. God can move in with his sanctifying grace only after the guilt problem is satisfied by justification. To think otherwise is to violate the law of non-contradiction. I realize that when we talk about the ordo salutis (order of salvation) we are talking about logical order instead of chronological order. But that logical order is inviolable!

Regeneration is not an act of God that prepares the way for redemption. It is a redemptive act. I commend Calvinists for upholding the satisfaction view of atonement and the imputation of the death and righteousness of Christ as the ground of justification. I believe they need to reexamine the question of whether the redemptive act of regeneration can be performed on a person before the death and righteousness of Christ is actually imputed to his account."

"For a person to be regenerated before he or she is justified contradicts the logical priority of justification to sanctification. To avoid this contradiction, a way must be found that will place justification before regeneration. I believe that in the influence and response model we can maintain a strong view of depravity and at the same time maintain the ordo salutis to be faith, justification, regeneration, and sanctification." (338, 339)

"Justification is by Christ alone (conditioned on) faith alone. This is pure and uncorrupted grace!" (341)

An Inconssstency In Calvinism

"In Calvinism (Hyper SG) it is impossible for a person to believe unless he or she is first regenerated. There is also another impossibility. It is impossible for sanctification to take place prior to justification. Let me repeat a quotation given from Robert Haldane in the previous chapter. He explains:

"So long as the sinner is under the guilt of sin God can have no friendly intercourse with him; for what communion hath light with darkness? But Christ having canceled his peoople's guilt, having redeemed them from the curse of the law, and invested them with the robe of righteousness, there is no longer any obstacle to their communion with God, or any barrier to the free ingress of sanctifying grace."

Following through with this reasoning, justification must be prior to regeneration. This is true since regeneration is the initial work of sanctification. In support of this conclusion, I will give again a quotation used in the previous chapter from Louis Berkhof. Berkhof tells us that "regeneration is the beginning of sanctification." He goes on to quote A. H. Strong with approbation. Strong says, "It (sanctification) is distinguished from regeneration as growth from birth, or as the strengthening of the holy disposition from the original impartation of it."

In his discussion on justification, Berkhof points out that there have been those who advocated the idea that the elect were justified from eternity. He would place antinomians and some Reformed theologians in this category. He goes on to give a thorough refutation of this view. He explains, "The elect are not personally justified in the Scriptural sense until they accept Christ by faith and thus appropriate His merits."

One of the arguments, according to Berkhof, that has been used in support of eternal justification is:

The sinner receives the initial grace of regeneration on the basis of the imputed righteousness of Christ. Consequently, the merits of Christ must have been imputed to him before his regeneration.

Berkhof's response is:

"But while this consideration leads to the conclusion that justification logically precedes regeneration, it does not prove the priority of justification in a temporal sense. The sinner can receive the grace of regeneration on the basis of a justification ideally existing in the counsel of God and certain to be realized in the life of the sinner."

Berkholf recognizes the problem of having regeneration prior to justification. He does not reject the conclusion that regeneration is dependent on justification. He recognizes that justification is logically prior to regeneration. But he says that "it does not prove the priority of justification in a temporal sense." His only answer is, "The sinner can receive the grace of regeneration on the basis of a justification ideally existing in the counsel of God and certain to be realized in the life of the sinner."

"If indeed it is true that regeneration is "the beginning of sanctification" (Berkhof, a major Calvinist theologian), and if indeed it is true that God cannot enter with His sanctifying grace until the guilt problem is solved by justification (Haldane, one whose Calvinistic credentials are not in question), Calvinism (Hyper Calvinism - SG) is in trouble with its view of having regeneration prior to justification.

Unless someone can come up with a better answer, the validity of Calvinism's (Hyper Calvinism - SG) insistence that regeneration precedes faith hangs on the fragile thread of the suggestion that Berkhof gave of "justification ideally existing in the counsel of God and certain to be realized in the life of the sinner." That fragile thread will not hold!"

"I have no quarrel with the idea that in some sense all of God's decisions are eternal. But His decisions are based on a prior knowledge of what He will do. He has not performed an act until He actually does it. I have no quarrel with the idea that whatever God knows He will do He will certainly do. However, such knowledge was a knowledge of what God would do. He knew from eternity who would believe and whom He would justify and when He would justify them. In both Calvinism (except in Hardshellism SG) and Arminianism, a person is not justified in the sight of God until he believes.

The Quest for Truth By F. Leroy Forlines, J. Matthew Pinson, Stephen M. Ashby

See here

Leland No Hardshell

The following lines of poetry written by Elder John Leland show that he was no Hardshell, even though the Hardshells, hungry to find adherents in the 18th century, claim him as one of them. But, no Hardshell can read these words of Leland and believe he was one with them in sentiment. They do not believe in giving such invitations to lost sinners nor that faith and conversion are necessary for eternal salvation. However, Leland clearly did. (emphasis mine)

Here are some excerpted lines from some of his poetry, some written near the end of his life, while in his 80's.

For your comfort every day;
If by fiery serpents bitten,

Only look upon the pole;
He who was for sinners smitten,

Freely heals the poisoned soul.

We, like Moses, now invite you,

Sinners, come and go with us; You will gain a crown of glory;

You will shun an endless curse. Why put off until to-morrow,

Works that should be done to-day This will fill your hearts with sorrow,

When your souls are called away

Lingring souls, how can you slumber,

When the storm is at the door?
Hark! and hear the rumbling thunder;—

Soon the storm of fire will pour.
O repent, and seek salvation,

Christ stands waiting to redeem; He will every sinner pardon,

Who believes and trusts in him

If you feel your hearts lamenting,

If your wills are rightly bent, If you come to Christ repenting,

As the leprous sinner went, You will find a gracious Saviour,

Full of pity, love, and grace; He will take you into favor.

And salute with words of peace.

"I am Jesus, I will save you;

All my blood your souls have cost, Power and grace shall cleanse and keep you:—

None that come shall e'er be lost, Go and tell to all around you,

What the Lord has done for you; Tell them if their hearts are broken,

They will find a Saviour too


O sinner! be awakened

To see your dreadful state;
Repent and be converted,

Before it is too late;
To-day you are invited.

To-morrow you may die,
And if the call is slighted,

How bitterly you'll cry.

How can you tarry longer,

And waste your time away?
The enemy grows stronger,

The longer you delay:
Now is the time accepted,—

Repent and turn about,
Or you may be rejected

And finally cast out.

The writings of the late Elder John Leland By John Leland, L. F. Greene, pg. 742-44.

See here

May 20, 2009

Watson on Priority of Justification

Watson - Justification precedes Regeneration

"We have, however, seen that regeneration does not precede justification; that till justification man is under bondage, and that he does not "walk after the Spirit," until he is so "in Christ Jesus;" that to him "there is now no condemnation;" yet faith, all acknowledge, must precede justification, and it cannot, therefore, presuppose a regenerate state of mind. The truth, then, is, that faith does not produce obedience by any virtue there is in it, per se; nor as it supposes a previous renewal of heart; but as it unites to Christ, gives us a personal interest in the covenant of God's mercy, and obtains for us, as an accomplished condition, our justification, from which flow the gift of the Holy Spirit, and the regeneration of our nature. The strength of faith lies not, then, in what it is in itself but in what it interests us in; it necessarily leads to good works, because it necessarily leads to justification, on which immediately follows our new creation in Christ Jesus to good works, that we may walk in are yet a few theories on the subject of justification to be stated and examined, which, however, the principles already established will enable us briefly to dismiss."

"That of the Romish Church, which confounds sanctification with justification, has been already noticed. The influence of this theory may be traced in the writings of some leading divines of the English Church, who were not fully imbued with the doctrines of the reformers on this great point, such as Bishop Taylor, Achbishop Tillotson, and others, who make regeneration necessary to justification; and also in many divines of the Calvinistic nonconformist class, who make regeneration, also, to precede justification, though not like the former, as a condition of it."

"In the established order in which God effects this mighty renovation of a nature previously corrupt, in answer to prayers directed to him, with confidence in his promises to that effect in Christ Jesus, there must be a previous process, which divines have called by the expressive names of "awakening," and "conviction;" that is, the sleep of indifference to spiritual concerns is removed, and conviction of the sad facts of the case of a man who has hitherto lived in sin, and under the sole dominion of a carnal and earthly mind, is fixed in the judgment and the conscience. From this arises an altered and a corrected view of things; apprehension of danger; desire of deliverance; abhorrence of the evils of the heart and the life; strong efforts for freedom, resisted however by the bondage of established habits and innate corruptions; and a still deeper sense, in consequence, of the need not only of pardon, but of that almighty and renewing influence which alone can effect the desired change. It is in this state of mind, that the prayer becomes at once heartfelt and appropriate, "Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me." But all this is not regeneration; it is rather the effect of the full and painful discovery of the want of it; nor will "fruits meet for repentance," the effects of an alarmed conscience, and of a corrected judgment; the efforts to be right, however imperfect; which are the signs, we also grant, of sincerity, prove more than that the preparatory process is going on under the influence of the Holy Spirit."

"If regeneration, in the sense in which it is used in Scripture, and not loosely and vaguely, as by many divines, both ancient and modern, is then a concomitant of justification, it cannot be a condition of it; and as we have shown, that all the changes which repentance implies, fall short of regeneration, repentance is not an evidence of a regenerate state; and thus the theory of justification by regeneration is untenable."
(pg. 253)

Theological Institutes By Richard Watson

See here

Bunyan - Justification & Birth

In the following citations, John Bunyan clearly took the Protestant Reformed view that Justification logically precedes the new birth or regeneration, a view that today's "Reformed" Calvinists reject. Today's "Reformed" Calvinists, men like James White and Tom Ascol, R.C. Sproul, Ligon Duncan III, etc., hold to the Catholic view that regeneration and sanctification precede justification.

John Bunyan wrote:

"We received, by our thus being counted in him, that benefit which did precede his rising from the dead; and what was that but the forgiveness of sins? For this stands clear to reason, that if Christ had our sins charged upon him at his death, he then must be discharged of them in order to his resurrection. Now, though it is not proper to say they were forgiven to him, because they were purged from him by merit, yet they may be said to be forgiven us, because we receive this benefit by grace."

"And this, I say, was done precedent to his resurrection from the dead: "He hath quickened us together with him, having forgiven us all trespasses." He could not be "quickened" till we were "discharged"; because it was not for himself, but for us, that he died. Hence we are said to be at that time, as to our own personal estate, dead in our sins, even when we are "quickened together with him," Col. 2:13.

Therefore both the "quickening" and "forgiveness" too, so far as we are in this text concerned, is to him, as we are considered in him or to him, with respect to us.

Having forgiven you all trespasses. For necessity so required; because else how was it possible that the pains of death should be loosed in order to his rising, so long as one sin stood still charged to him, as that for the commission of which God had not received a plenary satisfaction? As therefore we suffered, died, and rose again by him; so, in order to his so rising, he, as presenting of us in his person and suffering, received for us remission of all our trespasses. A full discharge therefore was, in and by Christ, received of God of all our sins before he arose from the dead; as his resurrection truly declared; for "he was delivered for our offences,and was raised again for our justification," Rom. 4:25."

"Wherefore, hence it is that in time they partake of quickening grace from this their head, to the making of them also live by faith, in order to their living hereafter with him in glory; for if Christ lives, they cannot die that were sharers with him in his resurrection."

"This general offer of righteousness, of the righteousness of God, declares that it is in vain for men to think to be set just and righteous before God by any other means."

"There is here also insinuated, that for him that thinks himself the worst, God has prepared a righteousness, and therefore would not have him despair of life that sees himself far from righteousness. From all these scriptures, therefore, it is manifestthat "men must be justified from the curse of the law in the sight of God while sinners in themselves."

"Sixthly , "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest," Matt. 11:28.

Here we have a labouring people, a people labouring for life; but by all their labour, you see, they cannot ease themselves; their burden still remains upon them; they yet are heavy laden. The load here is, doubtless guilt of sin, such as David had when he said by reason thereof "he was not able to look up"; Psal. 38:3...wherefore "men must be justified from the curse in the sight of God while sinners in themselves."

"Sanctification (including regeneration - SG), then, is consequential, justification goes before the Holy Ghost by this scripture setteth forth to the life, free grace to the sons of men while they themselves are sinners. I say, while they are unwashed, unswaddled, unsalted, but bloody sinners; for by these words, "not washed, not salted, not swaddled," he setteth forth their unsanctified state; yea, they were not only unsanctified, but also cast out, without pity, to the loathing of their persons; yea, "no eye pitied them,to do any of these things for them"; no eye but his whose glorious grace isunsearchable; no eye but his who could look and love; all others looked and loathed; but blessed be God that hath passed by us in that day that we wallowed in our own blood; and blessed be God for the skirt of his glorious righteousness wherewith hecovered us when we lay before him naked in blood. It was when we were in our blood that he loved us; when we were in our blood he said, Live. Therefore, "men are justified from the curse in the sight of God while sinners in themselves."

"Thus Christ saveth from present condemnation those that be still in their sin and blood."

"But is he now quit? No; he standeth yet in filthy garments; neither can he, by aught that is in him, or done by him, clear himself from him. How then? Why, the Lord clothes him with change of raiment: the iniquities were his own, the raiment was the Lord's."

"When he saw Jesus, the devil in him, as being lord and governor there, cried out against the Lord Jesus. In all this what qualification shews itself as precedent to justification? None but such as devils work, or as rank Bedlams have." (he clearly could not put regeneration before justification - SG)

"I come now to the second use, Have faith in Christ. But what are we to understand by faith?

Answer: Faith importeth as much as to say, receive, embrace, accept of, or trust in, the benefit offered. All which are, by holy men of God, words used on purpose to shew that the mercy of God, the forgiveness of sins, and eternal life, are not to be had by doing or by the law; but by receiving, embracing, accepting, or trusting to the mercy of God through Christ "We believe that through the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved, even as they," John 1:12; 2 Cor. 4:1; 11:4;Col. 2:6; Heb. 11:13; 1 Tim. 1:15; Ephes. 1:12, 13; Acts 15:11. Thus you see what the gospel is, and what faith doth do in the salvation of the soul."

It seems clear to me, from the above citations, that Bunyan put faith before justification (union with Christ) and regeneration after justification.

Bunyan said:

"Now faith is the eye of the godly man..."

If Bunyan were a Hyper Calvinist, and believed that regeneration preceded faith, then he would not speak of faith being the eye. The Hyperist says that God must give one a spiritual "eye" before he can have faith. But, such an idea makes the eye something other than faith itself.

(Justification By An Imputed RIGHTEOUSNESS OR No Way to Heaven but by JESUS CHRIST)

See here

May 15, 2009

Inheriting the Promises By Faith

"That ye be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises." (Hebrews 6: 12 KJV)

I do not exclude "regeneration" or being "born again" from being one of the promises included in "the promises." Yet, the "Reformed" or "Hyper" Calvinist who denies that men are born again by faith must logically exclude the new birth from "the promises." Since he denies that regeneration is "by faith" then he cannot, without contradiction, say that "the promises" above include regeneration, for if he does, then he cannot deny that it says that we inherit the promises, including the new birth, "by faith."

"Consistency thou art a jewel."

99% By Faith?

Below is a list of words demonstrating what part of the Christian experience is "by faith" and what is "NOT by faith" according to those Hyperists and "Reformed" Calvinists who say that regeneration (new birth) is before faith (conversion) and that the "first stage" of "regeneration" is by the direct power of God without the means of the word of God. Representatives of this view today are men such as James White, R.C. Sproul, Ligon Duncan III, John Hendryx, Tom and Bill Ascol, Tom Nettles, Wayne Grudem, Robert Reymond, etc. All these men will affirm that sinners experience all the things (terms) mentioned in the first list "by faith." However, they deny that sinners experience the things mentioned in the second list which are "NOT by faith."

A review of the length of each list and a comparison of the terms used to denote what is the result of faith versus what is not the result of faith shows that these Hyperist Calvinists believe that nearly all (99%) of the leading terms used to describe the Christian experience of salvation, in all its aspects, is "by faith" and leave only 1% to be Not "by faith." Isn't that interesting and revealing?

By Faith

1. Saved by faith
2. Sanctified (cleansed) by faith
3. Justified (forgiven and pardoned) by faith
4. Adopted by faith
5. Sealed by faith
6. Received the Spirit by faith
7. Renewed by faith
8. Converted by faith
9. Forgiven (pardoned) by faith
10. Become children of God by faith
11. Joined to Christ (union) by faith
12. Living by faith
13. Kept by faith
14. Joy and peace by faith
15. Enter the kingdom of God by faith
16. Obtain eternal life by faith
17. Inherit the promises by faith

Not By Faith

1. Not quickened (made alive or resurrected) by faith
2. Nor regenerated (born again) by faith

May 14, 2009

The Ordo Salutis Debate

This is the title of a book I am desirous of completing. I already have lots of research materials collected for such a work and plan to work on it in the months ahead. I desire that the book cover the debate from both an historical and biblical perspective. I also contemplate having a large section that deals with whether regeneration precedes justification or vice versa. I believe one of the consequences of the "born again before faith" error is that it puts regeneration before justification, which has been the historical position of the Roman Catholic Church. Those "Reformed" and "Hyper Calvinists" who put regeneration before justification have taken, ironically, the position of Rome.

I continue to work, as time permits, on my second volume of "The Hardshell Baptist Cult." I am also preparing for an upcoming debate this summer. So, my "plate is full."

I appreciate all the readers here and their comments. I am nearing my three year anniversary here for the Gadfly (July) and am thankful for the opportunity of having this format to write on Christian doctrine. Your prayers are coveted.

May 10, 2009

Dr. McMahon on Hyper Calvinism

I have cited from Dr. McMahon in my book on "The Hardshell Baptist Cult." He has written some good words against the Hyper Calvinists. In the following citation, Dr. McMahon clearly includes the idea of "regeneration before faith" in the category of Hyper Calvinism.

"Since the Noetic influences of sin are so complete in the mind of men, Hyper-Calvinism says that preaching must come after regeneration, not before. Thus, Hyper-Calvinism teaches that men do not come to Christ because he is lost, but because He is saved."

See here

It is the Hyper Calvinist who says that regeneration occurs before "coming to Christ," making coming to Christ a post regeneration experience.

May 7, 2009

Defining Hyper Calvinism

The following writer, like others, connects Hyper Calvinism with Antinomianism.

"Should it be asked, whether all Calvinists differ from Arminians, only in reference to effectual grace and perseverance, it is frankly acknowledged, that there are some who differ from them in other points. These persons are generally styled High-Calvinists, or Hyper-Calvinists. Hyper signifies above, and Hyper-Calvinists are so called, because their system is above genuine Calvinism. The Hyper-Calvinist holds the particular design of Christ's death, but denies its general design; whereas moderate or modern Calvinists, as they are called, hold both. An Antinomian may perhaps be called a consistent Hyper-Calvinist. The word Antinomian is derived from anti, against, and nomos, a law; and is applied to persons who hold doctrines which tend to discourage holiness. The Hyper-Calvinist holds such doctrines. He admits that the death of Christ is sufficient for all, and that all receive many temporal mercies through him; but he denies that the death of Christ was in any respect intended for the salvation of all; and therefore he does not invite all to believe in him for salvation, but preaches to saints and before sinners, and leaves God to apply the word to his elect people. Some Hyper-Calvinists, however, are so inconsistent as to invite sinners, because they perceive that the sacred writers do so. Other Hyper Calvinists proceed much further than abstaining from invitations to sinners. They multiply the points in dispute, state each in the most extravagant form, and in a way which tends to discourage the use of any means for the conversion of sinners, either in the family, the neighbourhood, or the world at large. "God," say they, "will take care of his own elect; he will convert them in his own time; the work is his, and he must have all the glory." As might he expected, under the idle pretext of ascribing the work and the praise of conversion to God, they excuse their own indolence and avarice."

"It has been justly observed, that preaching, in order to be scriptural and profitable, should consist of a due proportion of doctrinal, experimental, and practical statement. The Hyper-Calvinist almost entirely overlooks the last. As to doctrine, his preaching is in a great measure confined to the peculiarities of Hyper-Calvinism; and as it regards experience, that which he preaches is of a spurious kind. Genuine experience consists in the exercise of love, reverence, humility, trust, and submission to God; but experience, in the opinion of the Hyper-Calvinist, consists chiefly, if not entirely, in confidence of a person's acceptance with God, assured hope of heaven, and joy arising from both."
(pg. 169,70)

The Christian instructor By George Croft (Published at Oxford, 1825)

See here