Does Regeneration Precede Faith?

 

Many Calvinists teach that regeneration precedes faith. They say that a person must be born again before he believes. They argue that new life comes before faith.

John Piper, a Calvinistic pastor, puts it this way:

“We can say, first, that regeneration is the cause of faith… Having been born of God results in our believing. Our believing is the immediate evidence of God’s begetting.” [1]

Gordon Olson, a non-Calvinistic scholar, writes:

“Extreme Calvinists put the new birth before faith, since they believe that spiritually dead humans cannot exercise faith and, therefore, need to be born again before they can believe.” [2]

I would not agree with Olson that this doctrine is necessarily an “extreme” form of Calvinism because most of the mainstream Calvinists today do adhere to it. Instead, I would argue that this point has not always been uniformly understood and adopted in the same way by all Calvinists, [3] which is typical with many of the most controversial points within the Calvinistic scheme.[4]

regenerationfaithsproulThe Calvinistic teaching has wrongly exaggerated the effects of man’s fallen condition resulting in a misinterpretation of man’s responsibility in light of God’s clear revelation. Calvinists say they believe men are “responsible” but they do not mean what most people think when they hear the word “responsible” (able-to-respond freely and thus guilty for that response).

What Calvinists mean is that mankind is justly punished even though they were born “unable-to-respond” willingly to God’s revelation. They do not mean that mankind is morally capable of responding to God’s appeals to be reconciled from their fallen condition (as implied in 2 Cor. 5:20, John 3:16 and elsewhere).

Calvinists insist that man is born dead in sin and therefore “corpse-like” in his abilities to respond to God’s life giving truth. Therefore, according to their logic, God must bring the corpse back to life so that he will certainly believe God’s revealed truth.[5]

Some Calvinists will argue that the order of regeneration and faith is a logical order not a temporal one, meaning that the two happen simultaneously within time. They teach that at the moment a person is born again he will come to faith. The moment he is regenerated he also places his trust in Christ. It all happens in an instant of time. Yet logically as we think about this transaction, we must put a causal order to it. Does the Bible indicate that a person must be regenerated so that he can believe or does the Bible teach that a person must believe in order to be regenerated? Do we need life in order to believe or do we need to believe in order to have life? That logical order is what is in dispute.

What is not in dispute is that regeneration is the sovereign act of God whereby He imparts His very life and His very nature to the believing sinner (John 1:12-13; Titus 3:5). Man’s first birth is natural; his second birth is spiritual and supernatural. His first birth makes him a member of a fallen race; his second birth makes him a member of a redeemed race. His first birth gives him a depraved nature (Eph. 2:3); his second birth makes him partaker of the divine nature (2 Pet. 1:4). The moment a person is born again he receives a new life (John 6:47; 1 John 5:12) and a new position as a child of God (John 1:12; 1 John 3:1-2). In short, he is a new creature in Christ (2 Cor. 5:17).[6] We can all affirm these truths.

But what does the Scripture actually say about the logical order of new life and man’s responsibility in attaining it? Which comes first, new life or faith? Let’s observe:

Ezekiel 18:30-32

“Therefore, you Israelites, I will judge each of you according to your own ways, declares the Sovereign LORD. Repent! Turn away from all your offenses; then sin will not be your downfall. Rid yourselves of all the offenses you have committed, and get a new heart and a new spirit. Why will you die, people of Israel? For I take no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Sovereign LORD. Repent and live!”

The order clearly laid out is as follows:

“Repent, Turn away…Rid yourselves…”
“…get a new heart and a new spirit.”
Verse 32 makes it even more simple:

“Repent and…”
“…live!”
Life comes from repentance, not the other way around.

Acts 11:18

When they heard this, they had no further objections and praised God, saying, “So then, God has granted even the Gentiles repentance unto life.”

The order clearly laid out is as follows:

“Repentance unto…”
“…life”
The Gentiles were not granted life unto repentance, but just the opposite according to the text. And the gospel is the means God grants mankind the ability to believe. He sent the gospel first to the Jews and then the Gentiles which enabled their faith response (Rom. 1:16, 10:14-17).

John 5:40

“yet you refuse to COME TO ME TO HAVE LIFE.”

The order clearly laid out is as follows:

“Come to me…” (through faith)
“…to have life.”

John 6:53

“I tell you the truth, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you.”

The order clearly laid out is as follows:

“Unless you eat…drink” (by faith)
“…you have not life in you.”

John 6:57

“so the one who feeds on me will live because of me.”

The order clearly laid out is as follows:

“the one who feeds on me…” (by faith)
“…will live”

John 20:31

“But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.”

The order clearly laid out is as follows:

“these are written…” (scriptures)
“…that you may believe…”
“…by believing you may have life…”
Life clearly is a fruit of faith and repentance, not the other way around.

Acts 15:9

“He made no distinction between us and them, for he purified their hearts by faith.”

The order clearly laid out is as follows:

“He purified their hearts…”
“…by faith.”
It does not say He purified their hearts by regeneration so as to make them have faith. Clearly a purified heart is a fruit of faith, not the other way around.

John 1:12-13

“Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.

The right to be born of God is given only to those who believe.

The order clearly laid out is as follows:

“…all who did receive him…who believed…”
“…he gave the right to BECOME children of God…”
You are not even given to right to become a child of God, much less be born again as his child, UNTIL you “receive him” and “believe in his name.” And while placing our trust in Christ is man’s responsibility, the work of regeneration is all of God’s doing. It does not come by way of inheritance, marriage, works or striving (Rom. 9:30-32).

Galatians 3:26

“You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus…”

The order clearly laid out is as follows:

“You are all sons of God…”
“…through faith in Christ…”
Obviously, becoming a son (born of God) is a fruit of faith, not the other way around.

John 12:36

“Believe in the light while you have the light, so that you may become children of light.”

The order clearly laid out is as follows:

“Believe in the light…”
“…so that you may become children…”

Ephesians 1:13

“And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit…”

The order clearly laid out is as follows:

“when you heard the message of truth…when you believed
“you were included in Christ…you were marked in him…”

Galatians 3:2, 5

“I would like to learn just one thing from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by believing what you heard?… So again I ask, does God give you his Spirit and work miracles among you by the works of the law, or by your believing what you heard?”

The order clearly laid out is as follows:

“…received the Spirit…”
“…by believing what you heard…”

2 Corinthians 3:14-16

“But their minds were made dull, for to this day the same veil remains when the old covenant is read. It has not been removed, because only in Christ is it taken away.Even to this day when Moses is read, a veil covers their hearts. But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away.

The order clearly laid out is as follows:

“…anyone turns to the Lord…” (by faith)
“…the veil is taken away.”

1 Timothy 1:16

“But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his immense patience as an example for those who would believe in him and receive eternal life.”

The order clearly laid out is as follows:

“…those who would believe in him…”
“…may receive eternal life.”

Colossians 2:12

“…having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through your faith in the working of God, who raised him from the dead.”

The order clearly laid out is as follows:

“…baptism, in which you were also raised…”
“…through your faith…”

James 1:18

“He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all he created.”

The order clearly laid out is as follows:

“…give us brith…”
“…through the word of truth…”

Calvinists teach the word of truth will certainly be rejected by the unregenerate, thus how can the apostle say that the word may be the means of new birth? Birth must precede the word if Calvinism is true, and that is not what the text clearly indicates.

The Philippian jailer inquired, “What must I do to be saved?” (Acts 16:30). If Paul was Calvinistic he should have replied, “You can do nothing to be saved. You were born corpse-like dead in your sin and a dead man can do nothing. If God makes you alive then you will be convinced to believe our gospel.” But Paul does not hesitate to simply say, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved” (Acts 16:31). Believe so as to have new life. Repent so as to live! That is the gospel appeal sent for all to hear it and respond.


[1] John Piper Sermon: Accessed online here.

Consider this article from Dr. David Allen of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in 1 John 5:1:

1 John 5:1

First John 5:1 states: “Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God . . .”29 “Whoever believes” is a present tense participle. “Born” is a perfect tense verb. Some Calvinists suggest the perfect tense indicates completed past action with continuing results and draw the conclusion that faith is the result of being born again. The argument is that the verb “born” is in the perfect tense denoting an action that precedes the faith in the participle “whoever believes.”

This is an unwarranted and erroneous interpretation. Consider two examples. John 3:18 states: “He who believes is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already. . .” “He who believes” is a present participle. “Not condemned” is a perfect tense verb. Yet, here it is clear that the “believing” precedes “not being condemned.” Consider 1 John 5:10, “he who does not believe God has made Him a liar. . .” “He who does not believe” translates a present participle. “Has made” translates a perfect tense verb. Here again, the perfect tense verb, “making God a liar,” is a result of the present participle, “not believing,” not its cause.

Many Calvinists argue that the use of “born” in the perfect tense produces a range of results expressed by present participles, and faith is one of them. However, exegesis always trumps systematic theology. Likewise, context and sentence structure trumps theology. Let’s compare John 3:18 with 1 John 5:1 to see if the use of “born” in the perfect tense produces the result of faith. Notice the order of events in John 3:18 is A then B. In 1 John 5:1 the order is B then A. Both make use of the perfect tense. The same grammatical structure that places being born of God before faith can also be used to describe justification as occurring after faith. See Rom 5:1. The grammar of the verses does not address an ordo salutis. The use of the perfect tense in Greek provides no support for the notion of regeneration preceding faith.30 To suggest otherwise is to fail to distinguish between tense and aspect in Greek verbs and verbals.

Furthermore, with respect to 1 John 5:1, contextually the simple initial act of believing is not under consideration by John. John is talking about the ongoing life of faith as a believer. Obviously, the new birth precedes the ongoing life of faith. But that is something altogether different from saying the new birth precedes the initial act of faith. John’s use of “born” nowhere precludes the possibility of faith preceding regeneration. One may argue for regeneration preceding faith, but one cannot argue against faith preceding regeneration. The most that can be said from the Greek present participle and perfect tense verb combination is that the actions are contemporaneous.

The broader context of John’s writings indicate he would not teach that regeneration precedes faith and elsewhere teach that faith is a condition for life as he does in John 20:31. This precludes the possibility of regeneration preceding faith.

Three conclusions, then, are in order:

1. There is no Biblical text that connects faith and regeneration in a grammatical structure that prescribes an order that supports regeneration preceding faith. Nor is there any statement in Scripture which precludes faith preceding regeneration.

2. There are biblical texts connecting faith and regeneration that support faith preceding regeneration.

3. There are texts that would seem to preclude the possibility of regeneration preceding faith. There is no Scripture anywhere that directly says regeneration precedes faith. That is a theological deduction made by some Calvinists that is driven more by their system than it is by Scripture. The Scripture says things like, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you shall be saved,” as Paul said to the Philippian jailor in Acts 16.

***********************************************************************
29 For this section, I have relied heavily upon the excellent work of Brian Abasciano, “Does Regeneration Precede Faith? The Use of 1 John 5:21 as a Proof Text,” 307–22. Abasciano provides the best and most substantive Greek grammatical analysis of the issue with respect to 1 John 5:21 I have seen anywhere.
30 A point well-made by Dan Musick in his post on this subject at [link removed]. Musick examines several texts to which Calvinists appeal in an effort to support the notion of regeneration preceding faith. <Source: http://baptistcenter.net/journals/JBTM_11-2_Fall_2014.pdf>

[2] C. Gordon Olson, Beyond Calvinism and Arminianism, p. 39.

[3] R. C. Sproul believes that regeneration precedes faith. But in spite of his doctrine, he once wrote the following: “Once Luther grasped the teaching of Paul in Romans, he was reborn” (R. C. Sproul, The Holiness of God, 1993 edition, p. 144). He must have written these words in haste because to be consistent with his theology he should have said it this way: “Once Luther was reborn, he grasped the teaching of Paul in Romans.” If regeneration precedes faith, then this would make faith unnecessary since the person would already be saved. If a person is regenerated, then he is born of God, a member of God’s family and a possessor of eternal life. If you are a member of God’s family and a possessor of eternal life, then you are already saved. So what need is there for faith? Charles Spurgeon recognized the folly of saying that the sinner must be regenerated before he can believe: “If I am to preach the faith in Christ to a man who is regenerated, then the man, being regenerated, is saved already, and it is an unnecessary and ridiculous thing for me to preach Christ to him, and bid him to believe in order to be saved when he is saved already, being regenerate. Am I only to preach faith to those who have it? Absurd, indeed! Is not this waiting till the man is cured and then bringing him the medicine? This is preaching Christ to the righteous and not to sinners.” [Sermon entitled The Warrant of Faith].

[4] Examples of other points where Calvinists simply do not agree among themselves:

(1) Atonement: Phil Johnson, President of Grace to You ministries, writes, “But second, don’t imagine that there is just one view for the Limited Atonement position and another view for the Unlimited Atonement position. As if there are two polar opposites here and they compete against each other. This is not really an either/or position even among Calvinists. And in fact, historically, the most intense debates about Limited Atonement have come over the past 400 years, they’ve all been intramural debates between Calvinists, among Calvinists… There are at least six possible Calvinists’ interpretations of it [scripture]… I want to encourage you read Andrew Fuller and Thomas Boston. Read what people like Robert L. Dabney and William G. T. Shedd and B. B. Warfield and Charles Hodge wrote on the subject of the atonement. Read John Owen too, but don’t imagine that John Owens’s book The Death of Death in the Death of Christ represents the only strain of Calvinist thought on the issue. It doesn’t. In fact, far from it.”

(2) God’s Love for all: John MacArthur writes, “I am troubled by the tendency of some-often young people newly infatuated with Reformed doctrine-who insist that God cannot possibly love those who never repent and believe. I encounter that view, it seems, with increasing frequency… Unfortunately, Pink took the corollary too far. The fact that some sinners are not elected to salvation is no proof that God’s attitude toward them is utterly devoid of sincere love.”

(3) Lapsarian Controversy:

Calvinists are seriously divided among themselves and always have been. There is Supralapsarianismvs. Sublapsarianism vs. Infralapsarianism. ‘The Supralapsarians hold that God decreed the fall of Adam; the Sublapsarians, that he permitted it’ (McClintock & Strong). The Calvinists at the Synod of Dort were divided on many issues, including lapsarianism. The Swiss Calvinists who wrote the Helvetic Consensus Formula in 1675 were in conflict with the French Calvinists of the School of Saumur. There are Strict Calvinists and Moderate Calvinists, Hyper and non-Hyper (differing especially on reprobation and the extent of the atonement and whether God loves all men), 5 pointers, 4 pointers, 3 pointers, 2 pointers. In America Calvinists were divided into Old School and the New School. As we have seen, the Calvinists of England were divided in the 19th century.

Whenever, therefore, one tries to state TULIP theology and then refute it, there are Calvinists who will argue with you that you are misrepresenting Calvinism. It is not so much that you are misrepresenting Calvinism, though. You might be quoting directly from various Calvinists or even from Calvin himself. The problem is that you are misrepresenting THEIR Calvinism! There are Calvin Calvinists and Thomas Fuller Calvinists and Arthur W. Pink Calvinists and Presbyterian Calvinists and Baptist Calvinists and many other sorts of Calvinists. Many Calvinists have never read Calvin’s Institutes of Christian Religion for themselves. They are merely following someone who follows someone who allegedly follows Calvin (who, by his own admission, followed Augustine).

(4) God’s genuine desire for all to be saved: Watch this CLIP

(5) God’s permissive decree and his implication in bringing about moral evil: See <LINK>

(6) The “order salutis” (the temporal vs. logical order)

[5] More on this point is discussed HERE and HERE, with many references.

 

[6] See http://www.middletownbiblechurch.org/reformed/regenera.htm

 

350 thoughts on “Does Regeneration Precede Faith?

  1. Daily reading NT is in 2 Cor 7:8-16.

    14 I had told him how proud I was of you—and you didn’t disappoint me. I have always told you the truth, and now my boasting to Titus has also proved true! 15 Now he cares for you more than ever when he remembers the way all of you obeyed him and welcomed him with such fear and deep respect. 16 I am very happy now because I have complete confidence in you.

    ——-
    Paul is proud of them and tells them that they did not disappoint him (right in God’s eternal Word!). That certain is a “matter that can cause them to boast.” They had to “muster up the behavior” that Paul brags about. But…. we don’t boast. We just thank God for helping us. But still Paul says it was their actions and “gives them credit.”

    Titus cares for them more because of their obedience and respect.

    Paul is happy now and has complete confidence in them. All this sounds so “man-centered”.

    Does any of this “count”? I mean did they do anything? Or was all their obedience and faith given to them irresistibly. I mean… does what we do matter or is it all planned about before time began and this is just Paul’s way of saying “good job” (or rather “kudos to you”) to people who had nothing to do with any of it?

    Of course we all live our lives like what do matters! Spend time with your family! Help your kids with the homework! It matters! It can change their direction and help them make wise choices in life!

    We all believe this…but some theologies dont teach it.

    1. FOH writes, “Paul is happy now and has complete confidence in them. All this sounds so “man-centered”….does what we do matter…It matters! It can change their direction and help them make wise choices in life!.We all believe this…but some theologies dont teach it.”

      This is “believer-centered.” Paul here speaks to believers and speaks to their growth in sanctification. All theologies teach sanctification – don’t they?

    2. “We all believe this…but some theologies dont teach it.”

      ———Here’s My Response to the statement above———–

      NO. Not all believes. I think they are only those who belongs to the antagonists in the doctrine of Regeneration Precedes faith.

      The verses cited are directed to believers already and there is no need for them to exert for more effort in order to be saved. Calvinism believes in a Permanent Salvation that is maintained by God Himself in the believer, not vice versa. If it sounds “man centered” due to the commendations made as regarding performances, it has nothing to do with earning Salvation. But, if it referred to the achievement of future rewards of the believers, Calvinism has nothing to oppose with it.

      How do you operate the Christian life? Are you operating on your own strength and might? Calvinists always recognize that It was God who had began a good work in the believer’s life and that God will also finish it until the day of Jesus Christ. This can be read in Phil. 1:6 which says: “Being confident of this very thing that He which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ”.

      It is God who gives the believer the desire to accomplish the will of God according to — Phil. 2:13 “For it God who which worketh in you BOTH TO WILL and TO DO of Hid good pleasure.

      Regeneration precedes faith. The fallen man [dead spiritually] cannot enliven himself. He needs to be revived first before he can engage with the gospel offer.

  2. Reading Acts 17-18 for an article I am writing.

    2 As was his custom, Paul went into the synagogue, and on three Sabbath days he reasoned with them from the Scriptures, 3 explaining and proving that the Messiah had to suffer and rise from the dead. “This Jesus I am proclaiming to you is the Messiah,” he said. 4 Some of the Jews were persuaded and joined Paul and Silas, as did a large number of God-fearing Greeks and quite a few prominent women.

    A. Paul reasoned with them….. what does that mean if they are “too-dead” to hear anything? You cannot reason with a corpse…. but you reason with a person can respond.

    B. He was explaining and proving the Messiah. Why? They would be given faith or not given. You cannot prove anything to a “too-dead” man.

    C. Some of the Jews were persuaded. Persuaded? Persuaded to what? To believe? It is interesting how Calvinists want to take a spiritual-sounding, high-road and say man has nothing to do with it (faith is given, belief is given), yet Scripture keeps putting it this way everywhere.

    Is the Scripture deceiving us that Paul’s “reasoning” had something to do with it?

    Is the Scripture deceiving us that Paul’s careful “explaining a proving” had something to do with it?

    Is the Scripture deceiving us that them “being persuaded” had something to do with it?

    Nope.

    If no reasoning, explaining, proving, can do anything to “persuade” a “too-dead” man until he is given faith, and once he is given that faith, he is “irresistibly made” to believe, then why are there all of these verses that sound so contrary to that idea?

    Let’s take the Scripture at what it says. Beautiful were Paul’s feet to take the good news to where they could hear it, and be reasoned with, and be persuaded.

    1. A. Paul reasoned with them….. what does that mean if they are “too-dead” to hear anything? You cannot reason with a corpse…. but you reason with a person can respond.”

      ———-Here’s My response to the above statement———–

      That is too literal, ” a dead corpse” – that is not the intended meaning of “dead in sin” from the view point of Calvinists. The commenter seems to me that he just do it in order to paint an ugly idea to the readers. Man has no whatsoever counterpart in obtaining the free gift of Salvation. It is the total work of God given free without any condition to undeserving regenerated sinners.

  3. In Acts 18 I am reading….

    18:5 When Silas and Timothy came from Macedonia, Paul devoted himself exclusively to preaching, testifying to the Jews that Jesus was the Messiah. 6 But when they opposed Paul and became abusive, he shook out his clothes in protest and said to them, “Your blood be on your own heads! I am innocent of it. From now on I will go to the Gentiles.”

    7 Then Paul left the synagogue and went next door to the house of Titius Justus, a worshiper of God.
    ———
    A. He says your blood be on your own heads…. which means this was their fault, their choice. Surely Paul would/should understand that they are not believing because “they were not given faith!” Why make it look so much to the contrary? He could have said, “Okay, well, looks like they have not been given faith.” Nah, never says that kind a thing.

    B. Because they are resistant, he will now go to the Gentiles.

    C. Paul goes to the house of a Gentile who is a “worshiper of God.” What does that mean? It does not say he is a believer in Christ; it just uses that “God-fearing Greek” idea. So Paul goes to the house of a Gentile who is open to the things of God. Does not sound like he is “too-dead.”

    1. “A. He says your blood be on your own heads…. which means this was their fault, their choice. Surely Paul would/should understand that they are not believing because “they were not given faith!” Why make it look so much to the contrary? He could have said, “Okay, well, looks like they have not been given faith.” Nah, never says that kind a thing.”

      “B. Because they are resistant, he will now go to the Gentiles.”

      “C. Paul goes to the house of a Gentile who is a “worshiper of God.” What does that mean? It does not say he is a believer in Christ; it just uses that “God-fearing Greek” idea. So Paul goes to the house of a Gentile who is open to the things of God. Does not sound like he is “too-dead.”

      ———Here’s My Response to the above statements———-

      The Commenter, knows that Israel has been purposely blinded by God. Refusal to the pleadings made for them concerning the gospel could not be the right time for them to respond. It is God who is responsible to unblind them [not the subject themselves] in His own time frame so that as part of the elect, they may be able to know the truth and be able to accept the gospel offer too.

      Their being resistant is a clue that they are “spiritually dead” and this thing can only be remedied by God Himself to regenerate them before Faith is given to them at the perfect time they hear the gospel call – Romans 10:17 says: “So then, faith cometh by hearing, and hearing the word of God”. —- [Faith comes, not self-produced by the sinner. It means being sent by God to those who are regenerated]

      The commenter must stick on his mind and heart that the “old man”, “old nature” must be changed first before precious spiritual thing be given to them. Openness from among the Gentile world could have as a clue that God must have been already prepared them the [good soil] as recipients of the gospel offer.

  4. I have been thinking about a Calvinistic idea I promoted when a young Calvinist.

    Calvinists say the God grants faith to a tiny few while He “passes over” the rest.

    I went to monergism.com to see what they did with “pass over” (not Passover).

    They had 3 articles talking about how God passes over unfortunate ones and gives faith to a few.

    There was one article on the biblical moment when God DID “pass over” His people. When the angel of death came by he passed over those who had, in faith, applied the blood on the door. Phew! Good! In the Bible, being passed over is a good thing! Christ died during Passover, reminding us all that applying His blood means you will be “passed over.”

    I wonder why Calvinists felt the need to take this great idea of “pass over” and make it that God passes over and denies people faith?

    1. FOH asks, “I wonder why Calvinists felt the need to take this great idea of “pass over” and make it that God passes over and denies people faith?”

      Calvinists should have used Romans 9, “God has mercy on whom he wants to have mercy, and he hardens whom he wants to harden.”

  5. Here is a bit more reflection on the idea of Calvinists saying God “passes over” denying life to people.

    Sometimes Calvinist will take a verse in Romans 9 out of context to explain this. In addition to the myriad commentators that disagree with the Calvinist rendering of this verse, there is also another good reason that this out-of-context, go-to idea for Calvinists does not work.

    In the Bible where it speaks of hardening heart it is in the context of the person who is already existing. If that person is already automatically “too dead” to be able to respond why does the heart need to be heartened?

    It’s like when the Bible says that “Satan blinds the minds” of people less they would understand. Why does he need to blind them if they’re already “too-dead”?

    In places like Mark 8 “hardening” is not even about salvation and certainly does not appear to be brought about by Christ:

    8:17 Aware of their discussion, Jesus asked them: “Why are you talking about having no bread? Do you still not see or understand? Are your hearts hardened? 18 Do you have eyes but fail to see, and ears but fail to hear? And don’t you remember?

    Nah. A verse in Romans 9, about hardening, taken out of context, has nothing to do with the passing-over-most-of-humanity idea that Calvinists propose.

    When the angel of death passed-over, he didn’t harden hearts, he saved them!

    1. FOH writes, ‘In the Bible where it speaks of hardening heart it is in the context of the person who is already existing. If that person is already automatically “too dead” to be able to respond why does the heart need to be heartened (hardened)?”

      That God hardens a person is not to make someone something they are not but to expose that which they are. In Romans 1, we read of the lost who, “even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God.” And then, “Therefore God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, – i.e., God hardened them. Rather than continuing to restrain the lost and limit the evil in which they engage, God removes His restraints thereby hardening them so that they can pursue even more evil and further revealing their character.

      Then, “It’s like when the Bible says that “Satan blinds the minds” of people less they would understand. Why does he need to blind them if they’re already “too-dead”?”

      The reference is to 2 Corinthians 4:3-4 – “…if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, in whose case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving,…” The gospel is veiled from those who are perishing – the lost – the unbelieving. it is the lost, unbelieving whom Satan blinds – this only at the decree of God even as Satan could not touch Job except by God’s decree. How hopeless is the situation of the reprobate. Paul describes the gospel as “…the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes…” How terrible is the situation of the unbelieving whom God gives over to Satan to blind to the gospel. Their destiny is sealed – there is no hope of salvation for them. So, we see that salvation “…does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy.”

      Then, “In places like Mark 8 “hardening” is not even about salvation…”

      That is why Paul instructs the believer, “I urge you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.” The believer is not set free from his old nature but is set free to put off that old nature. The believer can still be hardened by that old nature. So, Paul instructs, “…that, in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit, and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.

  6. Does Regeneration Precede Faith? — The answer is YES.

    Man is dead spiritually due to SIN according to Romans 5:12 says: Therefore just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men (includes the non-Calvinists here), because all have sinned.

    Already possessing a dormant sinful nature beginning from the mother’s womb. His sinful nature is then activated when he come out of this world and by the time he commits mental and actual sins.

    Due to his spiritually dead status, he is unable and morally incapable to reach out to God.

    How can the fallen man be able to come back to God if he is spiritually dead?

    He needs to be regenerated (spiritually enliven) first so that he can exercise his God given faith to place his trust in Christ by the time he responds to the gospel offer.

  7. The writer of the article starts with the error of semi-Pelagianism, that fallen men still retain some spiritual power to seek God, in spite of the explicit statement in Scripture that NO ONE seeks God (Romans 3:11), such that we can come to Jesus only because the Father draws us to Him (John 6:44). The Spirit must give a person a new heart before he is able to believe (Ezekiel 36:26-27).

    1. Some eventually seek God… and God must take the initiative to make that happen. You say its through irresistible grace, I say its through universal grace that can be accepted or rejected. God is even giving that kind of grace to “dead people” in Ezek 36:26-27, to draw them to repentance. I wonder why He wasted His time talking to them, if they couldn’t hear Him and respond freely.

      And John 6:44 is not a gotcha verse if one recognizes that the one drawn is not logically guaranteed in that grammatical construction to either come or to be raised up just because he is drawn. Only the one drawn and who comes is promised to be raised up. Even if “drag” is used here or in John 12:32… the meaning is only to drag to a location… There is no guaranteed change made in the person’s nature just by being drawn. Once they are brought to the location or before the person, like Christ… they have to make a decision what to do next and how to respond to the options and information they now have in that location or before that person!

      The same Greek word for “drawn” is used in the LXX in Neh 9:30… and that group of Israelites, though drawn by God to the opportunity to obey Him, did not do it. The Hebrew word for “drawn” used in Neh 9:30 is also used in Hos 11:4-5, which again is showing that Israel was “drawn” by God with love to Himself, but they refused Him. Paul recalls this kind of drawing with love, using the words of Isaiah where God said – “All day long I have stretched out My hands to a disobedient and contrary people” Rom 10:21. Does God only play act His love already knowing it only can and will be rejected? Not my God.

      Paul and Silas were “drawn” before the rulers of Philippi and then thrown into prison (Acts 16:19)… There they were free and able to either groan and complain or pray and sing! We know what they freely chose to do! I actually prefer the idea of “drag”. God graciously “drags” us to a place of decision. We cannot escape that “grace”, and we are now able and responsible for how we freely respond to it… making us clearly without excuse at the final judgment of God!

      *********
      Are you familiar with identifying distributed and non-distributed terms when premises are being evaluated as to what is logically valid to prove from them? In 6:44 the “no one can come” is a distributed term… but “the Father draws” is a non-distributed term. The “will be raised up” is non-distributed also.

      In brief Jesus is saying that all who come will be raised up. But the verse is not logically proving that they are the only ones to be raised up (deceased infants maybe also).

      And being drawn is necessary to enable coming, but the premise doesn’t prove it is the only thing necessary to enable coming (the context reveals looking at the Son and believing is also part of those coming). Nor does the verse guarantee that all who are drawn, and therefore enabled to come, will actually come.

      The emphasis on coming and believing is throughout this passage. It fits the purpose of the book…that unbelievers reading would be enabled/drawn to come and believe and then receive the everlasting life of the new birth (20:31). But reading doesn’t cause coming and believing.

      Reading determinism into these verses that don’t clearly prove it and whose purpose even contradicts determinism is just sad!

      1. brianwagner writes, “Are you familiar with identifying distributed and non-distributed terms when premises are being evaluated as to what is logically valid to prove from them? In 6:44 the “no one can come” is a distributed term… but “the Father draws” is a non-distributed term. The “will be raised up” is non-distributed also.’

        What, in the text, tells you that one term is distributed and the other non-distributed.

      2. Distributed terms are statements with “all” or “none” them. Non-distributed statements do not have universal modifiers so the idea of some is indisputably true.

      3. brianwagner writes, ‘Distributed terms are statements with “all” or “none” them. Non-distributed statements do not have universal modifiers so the idea of some is indisputably true.”

        Yeah, but the rub is in the application. You apply both terms to John 6:44, thereby claiming that the context of the first distributive term does not rule over the following (allegedly) non-distributive terms. My question is how you determined that the second terms were not to be taken in the context of the first term (I think that decision is just eisegesis on your part). Certainly, the “no one” in the first term can be tied to the “him” in the second two terms and I think that was John’s point. However, you don’t. The natural way of reading the text would seem to identify the “him” with the “no one” given that the “him” is the exception to the rule (“No one can…”)

      4. Of course, Roger, there is a connection between all the phrases, but Calvinists try to disconnect them and say dogmatically treat the “drawn” non-distributed term as if it means the distributed idea that “all” drawn come and “all” drawn are raised up. But they are reading that into a non-distributed term.

        And the context clearly indicates that other things besides being drawn are necessary to finally coming. Being drawn only makes coming possible (“is able”). The verse does not teach that it guarantees coming.

        And other passages show those who were drawn but did not come. Neh 9:13

      5. Brian,
        I read today on Ligonier’s site, Paul Helm’s smack down of Molinism.

        Yeah… not good enough he says since that would mean that God did not decide / decree man’s every thought, action, sin (uh…oh sorry, not sin….everything but the sin…but the sin too, really, in a compatibly-mysterious way).

        I am afraid your dialog with RH does not move the needle with him or most Calvinists since they START with a man-made definition of what “God must-be like.” If you start with that as a “given” ….no verses are gonna dent it for them

      6. brianwagner writes, “Calvinists try to disconnect them and say dogmatically treat the “drawn” non-distributed term as if it means the distributed idea that “all” drawn come and “all” drawn are raised up. But they are reading that into a non-distributed term. ”

        Calvinist understand the obvious. John establishes a truth – “No one can come to Jesus.” Then, John identifies an exception to that truth, “Except God draw him.” The exception applies to any single person (to any “him” and to each and every “him”) out of the universe of all people to which the truth applies. Finally, Jesus makes a promise to that “him” drawn by God (and to each and every “him” so drawn) – “I will raise him up.” The clarity of John’s statement is obvious – If God draws a person; Christ raises him. The exception applies to any, and all, whom God chooses to draw and Christ’s promise is to any, and all, whom God chooses to draw. The distributive/non-distributive distinction that you seem to make is an effort to make the verse say something it does not. It is a position forced on you by the verse. In the end, it defines the difference between the Calvinist understanding of the verse and your understanding of the verse.

        Then, “And the context clearly indicates that other things besides being drawn are necessary to finally coming. Being drawn only makes coming possible (“is able”). The verse does not teach that it guarantees coming. ”

        The verse does not negate other factors involved in coming to Christ, so being drawn to Christ is a necessary, but not sufficient condition, for one to come to Christ. This denies the philosophy of Dr. Flowers that denies this.

        The verse does provide a guarantee – “I will raise him up on the last day.” Can’t get a better guarantee than that.

        Then, “And other passages show those who were drawn but did not come. Neh 9:13”

        Different context. Nehemiah 9 refers to the law given to Israel and obedience to that law by Israel. John 6:44 can be applied to all Israel – No Israelite can come to Jesus. What is the remedy – Except God draw him. Thus, Paul argues in Romans 11, “In the same way then, there has also come to be at the present time a remnant according to God’s gracious choice.” Earlier, Paul had written, “Isaiah also crieth concerning Israel, Though the number of the children of Israel be as the sand of the sea, a remnant shall be saved:…Except the Lord of Sabaoth had left us a seed, we had been as Sodom, and been made like unto Gomorrah.”

      7. Thx Roger. You just illustrated my point how a Calvinist reads too much into this verse. You just went from the “any” now “can come” by being drawn to they must come. But you even admitted later that drawing is a not sufficient cause.

        I’m sorry you can’t see that drawing is not sufficient in itself, even though you said it. And it can be rejected after it has enabled coming, just like in the case of Neh 9:13. Your loyalty to determinism seems stronger than your desire for consistency even in your own argument.

        Take the last word in this thread between us here, if you wish. Blessings.

      8. brianwagner writes, “You just went from the “any” now “can come” by being drawn to they must come. But you even admitted later that drawing is a sufficient cause. I’m sorry you can’t see that drawing is not sufficient in itself, even though you said it.”

        Let’s clear up this confusion. My position is not that “any” can come. It is only “him” who is drawn by God who can come. I agree that God’s drawing is a necessary but not sufficient, condition for a person to come to Christ. Thus, Paul writes, “[God] who began a good work in you…” where “[God] who began” encompasses His “drawing.” It is true that those whom God draws will most certainly come to Christ because Christ has promised, “I will raise him up on the last day.” Thus, we can join v37 w/v44 to get, “All that the Father gives Me – He shall draw to me and they – shall come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out – but raise up at the last day.”.

        Then, ” And it can be rejected after it has enabled coming, just like in the case of Neh 9:13.”

        The language of 6:37, 39, 44, 45 preclude any rejection. Nehemiah 9 is a different context.

        Then, “Your loyalty to determinism seems stronger than your desire for consistency even in your own argument. ”

        If you can point to an inconsistency in what I have said, do so. So, far, you have avoided a direct confrontation with John 6.

      9. I did show the inconsistency… I only did not edit my response correctly, for it should have said – “you even admitted later that drawing is *not* a sufficient cause.” I did clarify that in the very next sentence. And that is the main inconsistency… for you want the him that is drawn to necessarily be the him that comes and is raised up. That is not necessary!

      10. brianwagner writes, ” I did clarify that in the very next sentence. And that is the main inconsistency… for you want the him that is drawn to necessarily be the him that comes and is raised up. That is not necessary!”

        Why not? When we read, “unless the Father who sent Me draws him;” followed immediately by “I will raise him up on the last day,” the term, “him,” does not change its character. They are one and the same, “him” – with this “him” being the exception to the rule, “No one can come to Me.” No one reading this verse would naturally understand the second “him,” to be different from the first “him.” The ‘him” who is drawn is the same “him” who is raised up – their is no inconsistency in this. I understand the difficulty of this verse for the non-Calvinist, but the extremes to which the non-Calvinist must go to negate the obvious meaning of the verse are not warranted.

        Dr. Flowers argued against the Calvinist position by changing “him” to “them.” Obviously, Dr. Flowers understands the difficulty the term, “him,” presents. His problem is that the verse does not say, “them.”

        You argue “Non-distributed statements do not have universal modifiers so the idea of some is indisputably true.” All you are saying is that God is the one who must draw a person to Christ and God can draw one person, “him,” or more than one, “some. But, you throw out “him,” to get, “unless the Father who sent Me draws some of them; and I will raise some of them up on the last day.” That is not what Christ was saying which is obvious from Christ’s use of the singular, “him.” Both you and Dr. Flowers seem to understand the difficulty presented by the use of the singular, “him.”

      11. We’ve been around this barn before, and I’m surprised you don’t see you had said necessary but not sufficient… been then argued for necessity that those drawn will come and be raised up. That is only possible if being drawn is a sufficient cause in and of itself.

        John 6, 44 addendum. My thoughts from once before. Take the last word.

        Drawing is necessary to be “able” to come. But the “him” that is raised up is not logically connected to just being “able” to come, but to the one who actually comes.

        There is an assumption being made by both sides who argue this verse. One side thinks drawing must result in coming and the other side thinks drawing only enables coming but that there are also other conditions that must be met before his coming and being raised up. The context reveals those other conditions.

        John 6:40, 44, 54 NKJV – “I will raise him up at the last day”
        40 “And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day.” …
        44 “No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day. …
        54 “Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.

        What are the prerequisites for being raised up at the last day? Seeing the Son, Believing in Him, Having everlasting life, Being drawn by the Father, Being able to come to Christ, [Coming to Christ], Eating Christ’s flesh, Drinking His blood, Having everlasting life… right?

        I added in brackets, Coming to Christ. Was that appropriate and assumed in Jesus’ words? Isn’t it false to assume just being drawn by the Father guarantees being raised up, and just being able to come to Christ guarantees being raised up? Isn’t Jesus saying those drawn who do come are the ones that will be raised up? And is He really saying that all who are drawn and made able to come must irresistibly end up coming, or is that open to question in Jesus’ words?

        I believe the listeners would have never thought – “Oh Jesus just promised that all who are drawn will have to come and then will be raised up”. They would have thought, I believe, “Jesus just said the Father must draw if we are going to be able to come… and if we come (responding to and not resisting that drawing), we will be raised up.”

      12. brianwagner writes, “you had said sufficient but not necessary… been then argued for necessity that those drawn will come and be raised up.”

        That one be drawn by God is necessary but not sufficient in itself. The promise of Christ – I will raise him up – referring to the “him” who is drawn guarantees the final result and is sufficient to ensure the intermediate steps between the drawing by God and the raising by Christ.

        Then, “…the “him” that is raised up is not logically connected to just being “able” to come, but to the one who actually comes.”

        Agreed. God draws thus enabling the “him” to come and the “him” drawn is the only one who can come and actually will come. If one is not drawn by God, he is not able to come to Christ – this the essence of Total Depravity that Dr. Flowers denies.

        Then, “One side thinks drawing must result in coming and the other side thinks drawing only enables coming but that there are also other conditions that must be met before his coming and being raised up. The context reveals those other conditions.”

        That is not a problem so long as the final outcome – I will raise him up – is seen as settled. Obviously, faith is required and faith requires that one hear – in the spiritual sense and not just the physical sense – the gospel.

        Then, “What are the prerequisites for being raised up at the last day? Seeing the Son, Believing in Him, Having everlasting life, Being drawn by the Father, Being able to come to Christ, [Coming to Christ], Eating Christ’s flesh, Drinking His blood, Having everlasting life… right?”

        Agreed. All of these steps are ensured under the promise – I will raise him up. Thus, Paul, “[God] who began a good work in you [by drawing you] will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus [when Christ will raise you up].

        Then, “I added in brackets, Coming to Christ. Was that appropriate and assumed in Jesus’ words?”

        Yes, per v37 – “All that the Father gives Me shall come to Me…” That God gives requires that God then draw after which one comes.

        Then, “Isn’t it false to assume just being drawn by the Father guarantees being raised up, and just being able to come to Christ guarantees being raised up?”

        Yes. Just being drawn does not guarantee anything. The guarantee is conveyed in two promise – (1) All that the Father gives…” and (2) “I will raise him up.” Take away those two promises and being drawn accomplishes nothing by itself. Add those two promises and the final result is absolutely certain.

        Then, Isn’t Jesus saying those drawn who do come are the ones that will be raised up?”

        No. He is saying that those drawn will be raised up. “All that the Father gives Me shall come to Me…” Those whom God gives shall come to Christ. For God to give presumes that He will also draw as the end result is the same in each case – “the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out.” and “I will raise him up on the last day.” Both statements say the same thing.

        Then, “And is He really saying that all who are drawn and made able to come must irresistibly end up coming, or is that open to question in Jesus’ words?”

        The link between God’s drawing and Christ’s promise to raise is solid and unimpeachable.

      13. FOH writes, “I read today on Ligonier’s site, Paul Helm’s smack down of Molinism.”

        Assuming that you actually read the article by Helm, you know that his problem with “Molinists” is there use of the example of David at Keilah recorded in 1 Samuel 23. What the Molinist defenders do is bring God into present time and allow that God knows future possibilities but not necessarily what people will decide. This is akin to Brian’s view of God’s foreknowledge of future events.

        The problem, however, is that Molinism proposes a middle knowledge of all future possibilities and this middle knowledge comes before God’s free knowledge – specifically, God’s decree as to what world He would create. Helm describes God’s free knowledge thusly, “God’s free knowledge, on the other hand, is His knowledge of His decree (of that which, in His wisdom, God freely and unchangeably ordained to come to pass). That which God decrees is obviously a subset of all the possibilities that are known to Him. His decree also has its source solely in His mind and will.” God’s decision as to which world to create among all possible worlds is, obviously, part of His free knowledge. Helm’s “smack down” pertains to the bumping God’s decisions into the future when God’s decision as to which world to create was made before He actually created the world that He did.

        Even Helm gets confused on this point saying, “Not only is middle knowledge unnecessary to an all-knowing, all-decreeing God, but the Molinists’ conception of free will makes it impossible for God to exercise providential control over his creation. Why? Because men and women would be free to resist His decree. God can only bring to pass the actions of free agents via his middle knowledge of what they would freely do if…” Helm concludes, “…in the view of the Molinists it is always possible for an individual to resist God’s grace,” but even Helm distinguishes between common and saving grace, the former being resistible; the latter irresistible.

        Helm concludes, “Reformed Christians have no good reason to accept the speculative concept of middle knowledge and strong reasons to reject it.” I think Helm’s problem is with some Molinists who conflate middle knowledge with an open future system similar to brian’s philosophy.

        Regardless, all you have to remember is that middle knowledge comes before God’s free knowledge and God’s free knowledge is His decreedal knowledge – specifically, God’s decree to create the world we now live in.

    2. Welcome Chris.

      Have a look around at this post and the others on this site.

      Biblical interpretations are given for all of the 40-ish gotcha Calvinist verses.

      Remember…. Jesus told the vast multitude on the mountainside… “Seek first the kingdom…”

      Hebrews 11:6 And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.

      Many more verses in the Bible about being able to seek than the one poetic one in Romans (which also say we all have viper venom on our lips too). Do we all? That passages (which also says we ALL shed blood with our feet) must mean something different than the out-run meaning assigned to it by Calvinists (especially since God says in other places people need to seek Him…and He rewards them for doing so!).

      1. “Hebrews 11:6 And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.”

        “Many more verses in the Bible about being able to seek than the one poetic one in Romans”

        ———Here’s my Response———–

        The true seeking could have just be recognized by God limited to the elect. They can do the legitimate seeking because they were already regenerated. If the reprobates would also attempt to seek, that the commenter would like to prove here, they are not recognized by God since that what they are using is their “own native faith” that is sin infected with the tendency to boast against God.

        “No one seeks God”. — Then, who can? Meaning, if there are such any, they need to be regenerated first [change their status: “old nature” to be implanted with the “new nature”] before they can do the seeking.

        If the faith that you are going to present to God is your own “native faith” , the verse in Heb. 11:6 clearly assert the implied opposite that it will not please God. The only faith that will please Him is the one that is given to the sinner at the time of hearing the gospel call when activated by the sinner. Even the cults posses in them their native faith and the demons have faith also, but it never save them.

  8. Does Regeneration Precedes Faith?- The answer is YES !
    This is supported by the following:

    1. Luke 15:4-7 – The Parable of the 100 sheep, One is lost leaving the 99 in search of the one lost. When found by the Shepherd [not vice versa] the Shepherd will carry the sheep in his shoulders and bring the sheep back home. The sheep cannot come back home on his own [the sheep is helpless, spiritually dead] needs a total rescue and needs to be regenerated-quickened spiritually.

    2. Luke 15:8-10 speaks of the parable of the lost coin. The initiative and all efforts [light a lamp, sweep the whole house] in the search were not done by the coin itself. It was all done by the woman. Regeneration is first done before faith. Faith then is given by God by the time a person engage with the gospel call. This “monergism” in God’s plan of Salvation, not “synergism”.

    3. Matt. 13:3-8 The preparation made to the “good soil” before the seed was sown to that ground – It is an expression of regeneration. No regeneration made for the other types of soil, made them all perish. Others will argue that the word alone as two edged sword is sufficient, but in this case how is it that the word alone has no power to germinate and grow continuously to the other types of soil? Why? because their former status [dead to sin, totally depraved] has not been changed first.

    4. John 6:37, 44, 65 The drawing power made by God the Father to those who will come to the Son. Even Israel who were purposely blinded by God, there will come a time wherein God will un-blind them for them to see the truth and be able to come back to God.

    5. I Cor. 2:14 Belief, Faith springs from a change of natural status which a fallen man can never exercise. He must first be regenerated [quickened his dead spirit] in order to become morally capable to access God.

    1. “Dead” people can hear God’s voice. But that voice can and has been resisted, just like the word that is heard is allowed to be taken or not allowed to take root or choked.

      But Jesus said even the hard soil could believe and be saved if the seed remained and did its work (Luke 8:12). Its the Word through humble response to it that makes the heart good soil.

      Heb 3, 7-8

      The warning is given, “Today if you hear His voice, harden not your heart.” Heb 3:7-8

      This warning passage in Hebrews makes no sense if Calvinism is applied to it. The Calvinist “elect” cannot harden once they hear, and the warning would be deceitful for they will never be lost. The Calvinist “reprobate” cannot hear and the warning would again be deceitful for it suggests there is hope for them if they repent, which they cannot do.

      But there is also a warning of judicial hardening for rejecting to believe His voice – Consider – 2Th 2:9-12 NKJV – The coming of the [lawless one] is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, 10 and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved.

      And – Pro 29:1 NKJV – He who is often rebuked, [and] hardens [his] neck, Will suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy.

      No-one is born reprobate. All are given a call to seek that they can understand and respond positively to. There is no excuse.

      1. Yes Brian, thanks again for a nice dialogue regarding this topic. Dead in Sin People [the reprobates] physiologically can hear. I don’t object to that. They are normal beings too with capabilities. The idea that I have with them is : “separation from God’ or a broken relationship due to sin that made them morally incapable to initiate for themselves [to do self efforts making themselves a “good soil”] to access or even win the favor of God. It so happened that I embrace Monergism as God’s plan for the Salvation of man. The grace of God for me is that work of God in Saving sinners given free to undeserving sinners without conditions [no requiring of man’s efforts] otherwise it becomes Synergism or Semi-Pelagian. We have the opposite position, but I will always respect your ideas and your identity here as a fellow believer in Christ and to avoid any personal attacks in my comments.

        Regarding giving warnings, this is also true with the apostle Paul in his Pauline letters. Warning the believers is just void or senseless because Calvinism believes in a Permanent Salvation being maintained by God in the believer. And it seems for me that you are affirming that here. It works only in regards to the issue of the rewards [not Salvation] that the believers will receive at the BEMA judgment day. Ignoring those warnings will cause to the loss or destruction of rewards.

        I also believe that there are those who were born reprobate, like : Judas Iscariot, Esau, the residents of Canaan that were annihilated by Joshua and his armies except Rahab the prosti, false prophets and even Cain who is destined as the wicked one or son of the devil [I John 3:12]. Other references used to identify them in Scripture are the following: goats, chaff, swine, tares, and also include those impostors mentioned by Christ in Matt. 7:21-23…

      2. Jtle – I enjoy our conversations also. But these warnings in Hebrews don’t just sound like a loss of rewards to me… 😉
        Heb 3:11-12 NKJV – So I swore in My wrath, ‘They shall not enter My rest.’ ” 12 Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God;
        Heb 10:27 NKJV – but a certain fearful expectation of judgment, and fiery indignation which will devour the adversaries.

      3. Brian,
        I agree with you that they outrun the texts talking about “dead”.

        It is a mystery to me how they can say that man is “too dead” to hear God’s call since he (unsaved man): can (a) hear (b) respond to other calls (pleas for money for good causes), (c) do other good things (be kind, be patient, love, sacrifice for other).

        Cain was warned by God…. Gen 4:7 “If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it.”

        It should be obvious to all that Cain could have obeyed God (or the call was very insincere on God’s part).

        But in Calvinism, Cain did not have what it took to respond. He was “too dead” and had not been given the dose necessary. One would never get that idea from simply reading the text. You have to BRING that idea to the text.

  9. “Cain was warned by God…. Gen 4:7 “If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it.”

    “It should be obvious to all that Cain could have obeyed God (or the call was very insincere on God’s part).”

    ———Here’s My Response to the above statement———-

    1. There was no God given law [the 10 commandments was given during the time of Moses at Mt. Sinai] during the time of Cain and Abel. The reason that we cannot place much emphasis on the issue of obedience. The two brothers might have just depending on their conscience as to how they had received orientations coming from their Mom and Dad’s knowledge of Good and Evil.

    2. God’s confronting Cain telling him, “If you do what is right, will you not be accepted ?”, for me is not to demand or expect obedience from Cain, rather it is a way of God’s revealing Cain as the “reprobate” – his natural status reveals what he is as the “wicked one” or the son of the devil according to I John 3:12 , in verse 15 John said: ” …. and you that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him”.

    3. It was not a call actually for Cain to obey because that would be insincere on God’s part according to the statement above. It was God’s way of revealing the true nature of Cain as the reprobate.

    4. Cain as the wicked one [that was dropped by God while picking up Abel], was permanently cursed by God in Gen. 4:11-15. Cain sensed this separation by saying: “…. I shall be hidden from Your face. I shall be a fugitive and a vagabond on earth…” Can cannot really obey because he does not have the capability to do that for himself while his brother Abel do.

Leave a Reply