Born of God: Historical Context Shapes Theology

Revised and reblogged from this article, by Leighton Flowers

In the typical debate over Calvinism’s soteriological claims you will often see the non-Calvinist refer to John 1:12 to emphasize man’s responsibility to “receive Him” so as to be given the right to become a child of God.

John 1:12: “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name,”

One Non-Calvinist wrote this argument to a Reformed Baptist minister, John Samson, of reformationtheology.com:

“It is clear that belief comes first, THEN they receive the right to become children of God. He gave the right to become children of God to those who believe. He did not make those who are already children of God believe. You have reversed the passage. But not only that! He only gave the right to become children of God to those that believe…”

Samson cordially defended his Reformed perspective, saying in part:

“…The very next verse (V.13) of John chapter one actually qualifies the statement about how be become adopted children of God in verse 12. It does this by asserting that this gift does not come about by the will of man but through the new birth or regeneration.

Lets read the whole thing in context:

 “He [Jesus] came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.” (John 1: 11-13). In other words, we all believe the gospel unto the adoption of God’s children because of the grace of God in regeneration, not because man exercised his unregenerate will. We were born of God, not by the will, but by the Spirit.” (emphasis added by Samson) <link>

This response aptly represents most Calvinist’s interpretation of this passage, but is this what the apostle John actually had in mind when he wrote this? Let’s explore a little deeper.

First, the text says that “He came to His own,” and most commentators agree that “His own” is a general reference to the nation of Israel, the lineage through whom Christ came. We must recognize the contrast between those who rejected Christ (Israel) and those who did receive or believe in Him (“as many as did receive”).[1] This narrative reflects on a similar dichotomy painted by the apostle Paul in Acts 28:23-28:

They arranged to meet Paul on a certain day, and came in even larger numbers to the place where he was staying. He witnessed to them from morning till evening, explaining about the kingdom of God, and from the Law of Moses and from the Prophets he tried to persuade them about Jesus. Some were convinced by what he said, but others would not believe. They disagreed among themselves and began to leave after Paul had made this final statement: “The Holy Spirit spoke the truth to your ancestors when he said through Isaiah the prophet:

 “‘Go to this people and say, “You will be ever hearing but never understanding; you will be ever seeing but never perceiving.” For this people’s [Israel’s] heart has become calloused; they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them.’ “Therefore I want you to know that God’s salvation has been sent to the Gentiles, and they will listen!”

The New Testament authors lived in a world that was drawn with thick cultural lines. How the Jews, Jesus’ own people, responded to their Messiah in contrast to how the Gentiles responded to the Jewish Messiah, and what that means and what the Church should do about it, is the overriding historical concern of the New Testament. It’s no wonder both John and Paul are addressing this question. Just as the apostle John sets up a dichotomy between those who rejected the Messiah (Israel) and those who received Him (Gentiles), so too Paul draws on this same generalized contrast between these two groups of people (Israel who has “become calloused” and the Gentiles who “will listen.”) John’s point is that God has granted the immoral barbarian Gentiles the RIGHT to be children of God through faith in Christ, though it was believed by many in the first century that this RIGHT was reserved for those of the circumcision alone (Israel).[2]

While recognizing the complexity of the Reformation period, the overarching concern during the Reformation was whether or not someone had to be a member of good standing in the Roman Catholic Church in order to be in good standing with God. The Catholic answer to this question was, “Yes, you must perform these specific religious works and adhere to these specific teachings as handed down to us by the Apostles”. The Reformers, even as they further split on other issues, answered with, “No, there is nothing a man must do to be saved, it is by grace alone by faith alone that one is a Christian”.

The Calvinist imports the historical concerns of the Reformation and, in so doing,  misinterprets the apostle’s reference to the “will of the flesh,” by applying it to our hyper-individualized modern soteriological conflict, handed down to us from the Reformation, over the nature of man’s free will, while ignoring the obvious Jew/Gentile context of the first century.[3] Samson takes the apostle to mean something like, “Man’s will has nothing to do with whether or not they will be born of God,” when clearly that is not the issue the apostle is attempting to address.

Instead, it is quite obvious from this context that the three points the apostle John lists here are in reference to the misconceptions of what Israelites perceived as their given covenantal “RIGHTS”[4]as direct descendants of Abraham:

  • not of blood = being a descendant or blood relative of Abraham (Rom. 9:7)
  • nor of the will of the flesh = being one who “pursued” or “ran after” the law so as to merit righteousness (Rom. 9:31)
  • nor of the will of man [husband’s will] = being married or in anyway connected to the patriarchal head

The apostle is knocking the legs out from under those Jews who think they have the RIGHT to be God’s child because of who their granddaddy is (blood), their law keeping efforts (fleshly running), or by patriarchal headship (husband’s will). John is not attempting to make a soteriological stance on the nature of man’s free will or responsibility in light of the gospel appeal.  This is simply not a concern of the author and is imported, whole hog, from the Reformation; a conflict that started 1500 years after the author penned the passage in question.

However, even if we did take on the concerns of the Reformation, the Calvinist understanding still does not stand up to scrutiny. In another passage Paul does teach us a little more about the matters of the will,

What then shall we say? That the Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, have obtained it, a righteousness that is by faith; but the people of Israel, who pursued the law as the way of righteousness, have not attained their goal. Why not? Because they pursued it not by faith but as if it were by works. (Rom. 9:30-32)

Notice that Paul is not denouncing the pursuit itself. He is denouncing the manner or purpose of that pursuit. Is righteousness being pursued by works or by faith? Are you running after the law or are you running after Christ? People are responsible to will and to run (1 Cor. 9:24; 2 Tim. 4:7), but if they do so according to the law and the flesh they will never finish the race. They will not attain their goal. If, however, they pursue righteousness by faith in the only righteous One, they will attain it by grace.

Calvinists have mistakenly applied the scripture’s teaching on man’s inability to attain righteousness by means of the law as proof for their erroneous claims that mankind is born morally incapable of attaining righteousness by faith (i.e. “Total Inability” – Calvinist’s belief that man’s morally incapacity of fulfilling the law’s demands equals man’s moral incapacity to trust in the One who fulfilled that law in our stead).

Calvinists seem to think that a man’s inability to “climb a rope to heaven” (works salvation) equals man’s moral incapacity to confess those inabilities and place their trust in the only One who can successfully climb that rope in our stead (grace applied through faith). This moral incapacity to trust in Christ due to the Fall of Adam is simply never taught in the pages of scripture. Nothing in the Bible remotely suggests that the Fall has made mankind morally incapable of responding to God’s own life-giving, inspired, gospel appeal to be reconciled from that Fall!

All agree that we are born of God when we are saved, but no scripture ever teaches we must be born again in order to gain the moral capacity to believe the gospel. We are not given a new heart so as to confess we use to have a bad heart. That is simply getting the proverbial cart before the horse. <more here>  In fact, the apostle John clearly states that God gives new life “to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name,” and not to a group of very fortunate individuals chosen for no apparent reason before time began (i.e. “Unconditional Election”).


[1] “as many as received Him” – This phrase is equivalent to the pronouns whoever (Webster = “Any one without exception; any person whatever”) or whosoever (Any one; any person whatever) which fling open the door of salvation to both Jews and Gentiles. Sadly this was a truth the Jews had a difficult time accepting in the early church (cf Acts 11:11-3, 15:1, 21:20-23, Gal 2:12-14) for they felt that they had special benefits based on their physical (ethnic) lineage (Abraham, Moses, circumcision, etc). This open invitation (so to speak) is similar to Paul’s declaration (quoting the OT prophet Joel 2:32) that “Whoever will call upon the Name of the LORD (Jehovah) will be saved (cf will be “born of…God” = Jn 1:13).” (Ro 10:13). It follows that calling upon His Name is one aspect of receiving (and believing in) Yeshua the Messiah. It should be noted that throughout Scripture until the very end of His revelation, this “as many as” attitude reflects the Father’s heart toward His rebellious creatures, John recording And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.” (Rev. 22:17)

Dr. Bob Utley on “as many as received Him” – This shows humanity’s part in salvation (cf. v. 16). Humans must respond to God’s offer of grace in Christ (cf. Jn 3:16; Ro 10:9–13; Eph. 2:8–9).

Received is aorist tense (at a moment in time, the moment we believed in Jesus) and active voice which implies that this receiving is a volitional choice, a choice of one’s will to believe.

“Received” (2983) (lambano) speaks of a literal taking hold of, obtaining or grasping. John often uses the terms accept/receive (lambano) in a theological sense – (1) Of receiving Jesus, negatively (Jn 3:11, 3:32); positively (Jn 1:12; 3:33; 5:43; 13:20). (2) Of receiving the Spirit, negatively (Jn 14:17), positively (Jn 7:39). (3) Of receiving Jesus’ words, negatively (Jn 12:48), positively (Jn 17:8)

Easton’s Bible Dictionary – Vine on John’s selection of lambano instead of paralambano (as used in John 1:11) – lambano, a simple but spontaneous acceptance from individuals, whether Jews or Gentiles, and so a simpler verb than that used before of the Jewish nation. Web Site: http://www.preceptaustin.org/john_112_commentary

[2] This Jew/Gentile dichotomy is also seen in the parable of the Wedding Banquet recorded for us in Matthew 22:1-14 and again in Romans 11:30-36: “For just as you (Gentile believers) once were disobedient to God, but now have been shown mercy because of their (Israel’s) disobedience, so these also now have been disobedient, in order that because of the mercy shown to you (Gentiles) they (the believing Jewish Remnant) also may now be shown mercy. For God has shut up all in disobedience that He might show mercy to all. (Jews and Gentiles) Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways! For WHO HAS KNOWN THE MIND OF THE LORD, OR WHO BECAME HIS COUNSELOR? Or WHO HAS FIRST GIVEN TO HIM THAT IT MIGHT BE PAID BACK TO HIM AGAIN? For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen.”

[3] Dr. James Leo Garrett wrote, “From Augustine of Hippo to the twentieth century, Western Christianity has tended to interpret the doctrine of election from the perspective of and with regard to individual human beings. During those same centuries the doctrine has been far less emphasized and seldom ever controversial in Eastern Orthodoxy. Is it possible that Augustine and later Calvin, with the help of many others, contributed to a hyper individualization of this doctrine that was hardly warranted by Romans 9–11, Eph. 1, and I Peter 2? Is it not true that the major emphasis in both testaments falls upon an elect people—Israel (OT) and disciples or church (NT)?” James Leo Garrett Jr., Systematic Theology: Biblical Historical, and Evangelical, vol. 2 (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1995), 500

[4] “The right” – When we believed in the Word, the true Light, we in turn received the privilege of access to God’s family. Paul goes a step further in Romans 5:1-2 explaining what happens when we were justified by faith (received and believed in Jesus) – “Therefore having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through Whom also we have obtained our introduction (prosagoge) by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we exult in hope of the glory of God.” (Rom. 5:1-2)

Dr. Bob Utley on the right (exousia) – This Greek term can mean (1) legal authority or (2) right or privilege (cf. Jn 5:27; 17:2; 19:10, 11). Through Jesus fallen mankind can now know God and acknowledge Him as God and Father.

“To become” (1096) (ginomai) means to come into existence, to cause to become or come into being and signifies a change of condition, state or place. Ginomai is the root of the verb gennao (used in Jn 1:13) which means to beget, to give birth, to produce offspring (cp our English word – “gen”-erate). Ibid.

290 thoughts on “Born of God: Historical Context Shapes Theology

  1. Fromoverhere,you are running to verses that exhort men to faith and show the actions or results of faith and I confirm them all.

    You’re interpretation of Ephesians seems to suggest that you are separating grace from faith,let me ask again I am wanting to know about your view on the origin of faith,where does it come from?Are you saying as it seems to me that grace is God’s gift to man,and faith is man’s gift to God?

  2. br.d
    Thanks Shawn – please provide the quote here from someone who asserted that faith ORIGINATES from man rather than the THEOS.

    If saving faith isn’t received at the time of salvation as Ephesians 2:8 and Philippians 1:29 then all men are able to believe from birth therefore the natural man is born with saving faith.

    1. Eph 2:8-9

      τῇ γὰρ χάριτί ἐστε σεσῳσμένοι διὰ τῆς πίστεως καὶ τοῦτο οὐκ ἐξ ὑμῶν θεοῦ τὸ δῶρον οὐκ ἐξ ἔργων ἵνα μή τις καυχήσηται.

      Word for word translation: For (by) the grace you are having-been-saved-ones through the faith, and that not out of you of God the gift not out of works, in order that not anyone should boast.

      The sentence is made up of three clauses. I placed commas to separate them. The first and last have the main verbs – “are” and “should boast”. But the middle clause is a problem since it has no main verb or verbal idea. So an “is” or two must be added.

      Most grammarians seem to add two of them (“is”), actually breaking this middle clause into two clauses – “that (is) not out of yourselves, the gift of God (is) not out of works”.

      But the main question becomes, what is the identity of the antecedent of “that”, which is also the antecedent of “the gift”. Both “that” and “gift” are neuter gender. So the antecedent should be neuter gender. But since no noun in the first clause is neuter, the whole clause is assumed to be the antecedent. Being saved by grace through faith is that gift, not faith.

      Another assumption to consider is that there is a noun idea in the participle – “having been saved ones” that is neuter gender Greek word – σωτήριον – “salvation”. Salvation is that gift, not faith.

      The passage actually doesn’t clearly prove or disprove that personal faith is necessary before salvation or that personal faith is a gift. Both of those implications are grammatically possible, but that “the grace (is) through the faith” seems to imply more that personal faith is necessary before being saved.

      Let me add that the phrase “the gift of God (is) not out of works” assumes that Paul has in mind another phrase he uses elsewhere in opposition to “not out of works”. That phrase is “out of faith” (Gal 2:16, 3:5). Salvation is out of/through faith.

      Personal faith must be in place first for saving grace to go through it.

    2. br.d
      Thanks Shawn – please provide the quote here from someone who asserted that faith ORIGINATES from man rather than the THEOS.

      Shawn
      If saving faith isn’t RECEIVED AT THE TIME of salvation as Ephesians 2:8 and Philippians 1:29 then all men are able to believe from birth therefore the natural man is born with saving faith.

      br.d
      Firstly:
      I asked you to provide the statement made by someone at SOT101 which asserts that faith ORIGINATES from man rather than the THEOS. Your response appears to be a statement made by yourself. So its not clear that there ever was a statement here asserting anything about the ORIGIN of faith.

      Secondly:
      Neither Ephesians 2:8 or Philippians 1:29 assert anything about a TIME at which faith is received.

      You’ve mentioned a concern about forcing ones theology onto the text of scripture.
      How is that not the case here?

  3. TS00
    Personally, I would allege that if faith could be ‘given’ to man by God, it would be ‘given’ to all men.

    br.d
    I think this is correct – however for me God gives faith in measures – which are moderated by how a man uses it
    As Jesus teaches in the parable of the talents.
    For example, God gave a certain type of faith to young David who used it to kill Goliath.

    Thessalonians 3:1¶ Finally, brethren, pray for us that the word of the Lord will spread rapidly and be glorified, just as it did also with you;
    2 and that we will be rescued from perverse and evil men; for NOT ALL have FAITH .

    1. Brd wrote
      Calvinists can’t deny this type of faith is common to all men whether saved or not.
      If a young girl can exercise faith in a man who lies to her – why can’t she exercise that same faith in the message of the Gospel?

      Calvinists have to argue that that would be a different kind of faith.
      But what scripture verses EXPLICITLY declare that to be the case?

      Shawn
      Yes we believe that there is a natural faith or human faith that even the demons posses.

      James 2:9 You believe that God is one. You do well; the demons also believe, and shudder.

      1. Brd wrote
        Calvinists can’t deny this type of faith is common to all men whether saved or not.
        If a young girl can exercise faith in a man who lies to her – why can’t she exercise that same faith in the message of the Gospel?

        Calvinists have to argue that that would be a different kind of faith.
        But what scripture verses EXPLICITLY declare that to be the case?

        Shawn
        Yes we believe that there is a natural faith or human faith that even the demons posses.

        br.d
        Ok Calvinist’s see there is a KIND of faith that exists with man.
        Then the Calvinist must believe that a special KIND of faith must be IMPLANTED into a person – and from what you’ve stated in another post – that faith is IMPLANTED at the time of salvation.

        Do you have a verse that EXPLICITLY states this?

        Again – please don’t bother to site vague or imaginative references
        Just verses which EXPLICITLY state that a special KIND of faith must be IMPLANTED at the time of salvation.

        Thanks

    2. Shawn
      Thessalonians 3:1¶ Finally, brethren, pray for us that the word of the Lord will spread rapidly and be glorified, just as it did also with you;
      2 and that we will be rescued from perverse and evil men; for NOT ALL have FAITH .

      br.d
      Does this mean when they drink a glass of water they don’t have faith to believe it is water?
      When they sit in a chair they don’t have faith to believe it is a chair?
      Do they not have any faith at all?

      1. Shawn writes:
        “Thessalonians 3:1¶ Finally, brethren, pray for us that the word of the Lord will spread rapidly and be glorified, just as it did also with you;
        2 and that we will be rescued from perverse and evil men; for NOT ALL have FAITH .”

        I’m not sure what he gets out of that, but it could simply infer that they want prayer to be rescued from faithless men (unbelievers). It says nothing about how or why anyone may or may not have faith; simply that they find themselves in danger from the perverse and evil men who do not have faith. We must be careful to not twist and read into scripture things that are not there.

      2. He’s using the text “some do not have faith” and taking the word “HAVE” to literally mean that they actually do not posses faith sufficient to believe in salvation.

        I think with a little examination we will find this is forcing a meaning on the text that the author does not intend. In my mind – the way to prove this is to find out if the NT authors anywhere stipulate that faith must be IMPLANTED into a person at the time of salvation.

        I’ve asked Shawn for such a verse. But so far the verses he’s provided do not actually communicate what he thinks they do. He’s simply reading his own assumptions into them.

        Like arguing that Adam had blue eyes because a verse says “let us make man”. :-]

  4. Brd wrote,
    Then the Calvinist must believe that a special KIND of faith must be IMPLANTED into a person – and from what you’ve stated in another post – that faith is IMPLANTED at the time of salvation.

    Do you have a verse that EXPLICITLY states this?

    Yes I do but we first must define what salvantic faith is and is not and it is not faith in a chair to hold you up,as we have in scripture it’s possible for people to believe and not be saved in different places,as I only noted James 2:19 You believe that God is one. You do well; the demons also believe, and shudder.

    Could you define to me what you are referring to as true faith?

    1. br.d
      Then the Calvinist must believe that a special KIND of faith must be IMPLANTED into a person – and from what you’ve stated in another post – that faith is IMPLANTED at the time of salvation.

      Do you have a verse that EXPLICITLY states this?

      Shawn
      Yes I do but we first must define what salvantic faith is and is not

      br.d
      That is exactly where I’m going.
      However – it is not honest to use the term “salvific” faith in this examination because it is question begging. ( you may need to look up what question begging means)

      Shawn
      it is not faith in a chair to hold you up,as we have in scripture it’s possible for people to believe and not be saved in different places…etc.
      Could you define to me what you are referring to as true faith?

      br.d
      Hebrews 11:1 gives us a definition of Faith
      Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

      One can have faith that a chair will hold him up without having evidence by seeing.
      One can have faith in the Lord Jesus Christ without having evidence by seeing.

      Although its obvious the faith written about in Hebrews 11:1 is referring to faith in Jesus – there is nothing here that suggests it is limited only to faith in Jesus.
      Therefore it is applicable as a general definition of faith.

      1. I will agree with you iif I’m hearing you right that the true faith that God gives grants one to trust in Christ as well as the other promises of God in His word.

        I believe that true faith rest in Christ as Savior from the penalty of sin and also from its power,it rest in Christ alone and has no confidence in the flesh Philippians 3:3.It also confesses and submits to Christ as Lord.

        Do you believe that?

      2. Shawn
        I will agree with you iif I’m hearing you right that the TRUE faith that God gives grants one to trust in Christ as well as the other promises of God in His word.

        br.d
        This is also question begging
        You really should look up what that means.

        What I believe I’ve already stated – that faith is what Hebrews 11:1 says it is.
        And per that definition – faith can be applied to trust in Jesus Christ and it can also be applied to sitting in a chair.

        πίστις – in my BDAG is defined as “A belief and trust”

        Shawn
        I believe that true faith rest in Christ as Savior from the penalty of sin and also from its power,it rest in Christ alone and has no confidence in the flesh Philippians 3:3.It also confesses and submits to Christ as Lord. Do you believe that?

        br.d
        I believe you are still in question begging mode and thus loading the definition of a Biblical word with a theological tradition. And I’m starting to wonder if question begging is your only recourse.

        Instead of agreeing with your statement I will agree with scripture.
        – Believe upon the Lord Jesus Christ and you shall be saved.

      3. Brd wrote
        One can have faith in the Lord Jesus Christ without having evidence by seeing.

        I would agree that faith is trusting the invisible God by seeing Him and His attributes and His kingdom through His word,It is the substance of things hoped for the assurance of things not seen with the physical eye,would you agree with this?

      4. Shawn
        Brd wrote
        One can have faith in the Lord Jesus Christ without having evidence by seeing.

        I would agree that faith is trusting the invisible God by seeing Him and His attributes and His kingdom through His word,It is the substance of things hoped for the assurance of things not seen with the physical eye,would you agree with this?

        br.d
        Again you are in question begging mode – loading way to much into a simple definition for a word.
        We have the Greek word faith – πίστις
        in the BDAG is defined as “A belief and trust”

        Additionally you’re additions become self-contradicting
        “substance of things hoped for and *NOT* seen (is what scripture says)
        And
        “Seeing him and his attributes and his kingdom” (is what you add to the text)

        You obviously didn’t notice the contradiction

        So we have a definition of faith – provided by scripture.
        Now its time to fish or cut bait:

        The Calvinist must believe that a special KIND of faith must be IMPLANTED into a person – and from what you’ve stated in another post – that faith is IMPLANTED at the time of salvation.

        Do you have a verse that EXPLICITLY states this?

  5. Brd wrote
    Seeing him and his attributes and his kingdom” (is what you add to the text)

    Yes Jesus opened the blinded eyes of those that were blind from birth
    John 9:39 And Jesus said, “For judgment I came into this world, so that those who do not see MAY SEE , and that those who see may become blind.”
    That is seeing him Spiritually as Lord,and Savior.

    Okay so in the moment salvation you have two agent’s that are said to bring faith 1) The word of God..
    .Romans 10:17 So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.
    1 Peter 1:23 for you have been born again not of seed which is perishable but imperishable, that is, through the living and enduring word of God.
    Most orthodox Christianty will believe this first part,but there is something else taught in scripture that one must have in order to believe.

    Brd wrote faith as defined
    Acts 16:31 They said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.”

    And I fully agree with the text which leads us to another text but NO ONE CAN say “Jesus is the LORD “but IN the HOLY SPIRIT.1 Corinthians 10:2

    Faith is not of the natural man but the Bible says faith is the fruit of the Spirit,therefore unless and until one has the Spirit which is at the time of conversion he cannot have faith.
    22 ¶ But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, FAITH,
    23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.

    1. br.d
      The Calvinist must believe that a special KIND of faith must be IMPLANTED into a person – and from what you’ve stated in another post – that faith is IMPLANTED at the time of salvation.

      Do you have a verse that EXPLICITLY states this?

      Shawn
      in the moment salvation you have two agent’s that are said to bring faith
      1) The word of God..
      .Romans 10:17 So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.
      1 Peter 1:23 for you have been born again not of seed which is perishable but imperishable, that is, through the living and enduring word of God.

      Most orthodox Christianty will believe this first part,but there is something else taught in scripture that one must have in order to believe.

      br.d
      Sorry Shawn – neither of these verses EXPLICITLY say anything near what you claimed.
      – Neither of them refer to the -quote “moment of salvation”.
      – Neither of them state faith is IMPLANTED at some specific moment

      So this is eisegesis

      Also I warned you were in question begging mode.
      And you confirmed that by starting with “in the moment of salvation….etc”

      Shawn
      Acts 16:31 They said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.”
      And….NO ONE CAN say “Jesus is the LORD “but IN the HOLY SPIRIT.1 Corinthians 10:2

      br.d
      This will be strike 2
      – Neither of these refer to the -quote “moment of salvation”.
      – Neither of these state faith is IMPLANTED at some specific moment

      So this is also eisegesis

      Shawn
      Faith is not of the natural man but the Bible says faith is the fruit of the Spirit,therefore unless and until one has the Spirit which is at the time of conversion he cannot have faith.
      22 ¶ But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, FAITH,
      23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.

      br.d
      This will be strike 3
      Do you notice the mode of your thinking in both of these examples?
      You start with a philosophical assumption and then you look to scripture to affirm it.

      – Neither of these refer to the -quote “moment of salvation”.
      – Neither of these state faith is IMPLANTED at some specific moment

      So you’ve shown you actually don’t have scriptures which show a special KIND of faith which must be IMPLANTED into a person at the “so called” time of salvation.

      In a previous post you asked someone here to shun imposing one’s theology into the text of scripture.
      I think your examples here show how easy it is to do just that.

      1. Brd you answered none of these text,I’m actually trying to exegete what it says

        No man CAN say Jesus is Lord but in the Holy Spirit, 1 Corinthians 12:2

        If this verse doesn’t mean that it’s impossible to confess Jesus as Lord without being in the Spirit then what does it mean Brd ;would you care to exegete it?

        Galatians 5:22 ¶ But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, FAITH.

        Does the text say that faith is the fruit of Spirit?
        If so then logically speaking if you have the Spirit you have faith if you have not the Spirit you don’t have faith,and when you received the Spirit you received faith.

        Within light of this text do you believe it’s possible to have the Spirit and not have this faith that is spoken of?

      2. Shawn
        Brd you answered none of these text,I’m actually trying to exegete what it says

        br.d
        False
        What was asked of you was clear and simple – here is what was asked of you:
        -quote
        The Calvinist must believe that a special KIND of faith must be IMPLANTED into a person – and from what you’ve stated in another post – that faith is IMPLANTED at the time of salvation.
        Do you have a verse that EXPLICITLY states this?
        -end quote

        Shawn
        No man CAN say Jesus is Lord but in the Holy Spirit, 1 Corinthians 12:2

        If this verse doesn’t mean that it’s impossible to confess Jesus as Lord without being in the Spirit then what does it mean Brd ;would you care to exegete it?

        br.d
        Where in this verse does it refer to a “moment of salvation”?
        Where in this verse does it state something is IMPLANTED into a person?

        You claimed you had scripture that EXPLICITLY stated these things.
        I assumed you understood what that means.

        Shawn
        Galatians 5:22 ¶ But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, FAITH.

        Does the text say that faith is the fruit of Spirit?
        If so then logically speaking if you have the Spirit you have faith if you have not the Spirit you don’t have faith,and when you received the Spirit you received faith.

        br.d
        The context of Galatians is written to believers – and Paul is distinguishing the difference between the manifestations of the Holy Spirit vs the manifestations of the flesh. Man is not without sin – so Paul’s concern is to teach the church how to discern the difference between the two. Any attempt to force this verse to imply what you originally claimed is a poor way of handling scripture.

        Additionally when you say “when you received the spirit you received faith” this a philosophy imposing itself into the verse – trying to make the text say something it doesn’t say.

        Shawn
        Within light of this text do you believe it’s possible to have the Spirit and not have this faith that is spoken of?

        br.d
        I see no reason to believe that people have different measures of faith generally – and that this coincides with Jesus’ parable of the talents – as well as being clearly exhibited in his miracles where he commands people – and in their obedient exercise of the faith which they already have they are healed. Nothing in these texts hints of faith being IMPLANTED into them in any of these narratives.

        Also the disciples ask Jesus “Give us more faith” and instead of IMPLANTING something into them Jesus responds by teaching them a principle about servant-ship as well as saying “if *YOU* have faith the size of a mustard seed… There is absolutely no hint of monergism here.

        Jesus sends them out to cast out demons – so he obviously assumes they have some faith. But he chastises them when they cannot cast out the demoniac boy. If the way of obtaining faith was for him to IMPLANT it into them – it would have been stupid of him to chastise them for not having it. These texts strongly imply a process of growth in faith. There is absolutely no hint of monergism or anything being IMPLANTED.

        Bottom line – the theory you are espousing is not trivial in the least but is a MAJOR and CRITICAL claim. If the NT authors believed your claim the way you do – they would have clearly and EXPLICITLY stated it as clearly and EXPLICITLY as you do. But they don’t.

        There is nothing in the texts you’ve provided that EXPLICITLY say what you want them to say.
        So far what we have is a religious theory superimposing itself on selected verses.

      3. I made a spelling error:
        This should say

        I see no reason NOT to believe that people have different measures of faith generally

    1. Galatians 5:22 ESV — But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,

      Almost all modern translations translate “faithfulness” not “faith” as the aspect of the fruit of the Spirit. And faith is clearly expressed in unregenerate hearts in a positive way in the parable of the sower.

      And Jesus confirms even the hard heart could believe and be saved if the word would not be taken away. Luke 8:12 NKJV — “Those by the wayside are the ones who hear; then the devil comes and takes away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved.”

      1. Here is the Greek definition Brianwagner for the Greek Pistis as translated 239 times throughout the Bible it’s faith,it’s the same thing.Same word used in Hebrews chapter 11 throughout the chapter.

        Pistis —- conviction of the truth of anything, belief; in the NT of a conviction or belief respecting man’s relationship to God and divine things, generally with the included idea of trust and holy fervour born of faith and joined with it
        relating to God
        the conviction that God exists and is the creator and ruler of all things, the provider and bestower of eternal salvation through Christ
        relating to Christ
        a strong and welcome conviction or belief that Jesus is the Messiah, through whom we obtain eternal salvation in the kingdom of God
        the religious beliefs of Christians
        belief with the predominate idea of trust (or confidence) whether in God or in Christ, springing from faith in the same
        fidelity, faithfulness
        the character of one who can be relied on
        KJV Translation Count: 244x
        The KJV translates Strongs G4102 in the following manner: faith (239x), assurance (1x), believe (with G1537) (1x), belief (1x), them that believe (1x), fidelity (1x).

      2. Brianwagner wrote

        And Jesus confirms even the hard heart could believe and be saved if the word would not be taken away. Luke 8:12 NKJV — “Those by the wayside are the ones who hear; then the devil comes and takes away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved.”

        Brianwagner when did man become depraved?When he lost back in the garden to the serpent he became a slave to sin and satan and yes that’s why he is still totally depraved and dead to God because Satan and sin is actively working as his living master,we are in a falling world and man is in a falling state and this is why,he lost and will keep on losing unless God grants him the victory!Jesus told those Jews they were of the father the devil and the lust of the father they would DO.., John 8:44.but if the Son sets sone free they shall be free indeed.

        2 Corinthians 4:4 In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.
        5 For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake.
        6 For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

        :4 Note the text that satan is currently blinding the unbelievers heart from believing the gospel and there is nothing they can do!
        :5 we don’t proclaim ourselves says the Apostle it’s nothing man can do in this blind state Brianwagner
        :6 I really believe the Apostle has creation in mind when God called for the to be light Genesis 1:3
        And it was so nothing could stop it from happening! God has shone light of his gospel into the dark hearts of His elect and there was nothing satan could do but lose praise God!

        Sola dei gloria!!

      3. God shines His powerful light into the hearts of everyone. Praise His Name! It enables a positive response like the parable of the sower clearly proves. God spoke to unregenerate Adam, Nicodemus, and Cornelius… and they responded positively.

        There is no good reason for rejecting the clear evidence of God’s mercy to sufficiently call all to a decision. Such rejection defames His mercy!

      4. The way Calvinists re-write verses – I sometimes find appalling.
        Its like they assume the NT is still being written and they are authorized as authors of the text.
        When a verse doesn’t say what they want it to say – they alter it – making up their own verses.

        I think this is a byproduct of the way they are taught to read scripture.

        Someone standing over your shoulder saying.

        This verse reads “ABC”
        But what it really says is “XYZ”

        Therefore when you read this verse – your mind is to convert the words of the text to “XYZ”
        And they want to call that exegesis!

    2. I believe it is most likely Calvinism is attempting to distort scripture into affirming Gnostic/NeoPlatonist conceptions.

  6. Shawn:

    Tell me if you agree with this…….

    Shawn: Yes… people are regenerated first to be able to “seek” God and “fear” Him.

    Me: But sometimes the seeking takes years (such as with a person today in a discover Bible Study). So…. is that person regenerated for years before he then decides to follow Christ?

    Shawn: Regeneration precedes faith… and usually instantaneously-close in time.

    Me: Why were these people called “God-fearing Gentiles” (think: Cornelius who was “a righteous and God-fearing man, who is respected by all the Jewish people.”)? Scripture says he was righteous and God-fearing…. perhaps for a long time (to get that reputation).

    Calvinists say one is “regenerated then they instantly come to faith.” Can a person be regenerated for years and years and then come to faith? Never heard one say that.

    When was Cornelius “regenerated” in your opinion? When he started being “a righteous and God-fearing man” or years later when he received Christ with Peter?

  7. Let me put it another way for you Shawn:

    Let’s say your teenage son brings a non-believing friend (say, 15 years old) to Youth Group. That person continues to come to Bible studies, playing basket ball and asking great questions for years. At the age of 27, and after years of faithful attendance at Bible studies, camps, retreats, and church services, that person professes Christ.

    What was that person doing for 12 years (while reading the Bible, looking for answers, asking questions)? Was he “seeking”?

    If your answer is “Yes he was seeking” —then it follows that he had to have been (according to Calvinism) regenerated (since otherwise he is a God-hating, non-seeker). So, regenerated for 12 years before professing Christ.

    If your answer is “No he was not seeking” (since unregenerate people cannot seek— and he was only regenerated right before his profession of Christ)….. then what was he doing for 12 years?

    1. When did Paul get the “divine spark” IMPLANTED into him?
      How about Peter?
      How about James?
      How about John?
      How about Timothy?
      Anybody?

      There is no reference in the whole of the NT about such a process.

      There are 7,957 verses in the NT.

      If this concept was part of the NT believer’s understanding – surely we would see it clearly and unequivocally in at least one verse!

      But no – its not there.
      Calvinists have to re-write scripture in their minds – in order to get it to say what they want.

      1. br.d,

        Paul is a good example.

        Let’s just ask Shawn…..

        If “regeneration precedes faith” …when was Paul regenerated?

        We already know that he was not a “God-hater” since he later describes himself as a Jew among Jews and trying to follow God’s given OT law (that aint good enough, but it sure aint “God-hating”!!!)

        Then he gets knocked down on the road and converses with Christ…..and obeys him.

        Days later, Ananias comes by so that Paul “may see again and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” From there he got up and was baptized.

        Days later he is growing and baffling “the Jews living in Damascus by proving that Jesus is the Messiah.” [side note: what does that mean “proving” that Jesus was the Messiah? You can’t prove anything to a “dead man” and the chosen dont need “proving to”?]

        Anyway… Shawn….. when exactly was Paul “regenerated” in your opinion?

  8. Today’s reading in Luke 8

    11 “This is the meaning of the parable: The seed is the word of God. 12 Those along the path are the ones who hear, and then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved. 13 Those on the rocky ground are the ones who receive the word with joy when they hear it, but they have no root. They believe for a while, but in the time of testing they fall away. 14 The seed that fell among thorns stands for those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by life’s worries, riches and pleasures, and they do not mature. 15 But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop.”

    What? Imagine if I read this story and I was a kid whose Dad taught him Calvinism:

    Son: Daddy, I thought you said some cant believe cuz God does not call them….but the first one says they could have believed but the devil comes and takes it away….

    Dad: Yeah, well it doesnt really mean that.

    Son: But Daddy the second one says they receive the word of God with joy….but they have no roots. Did they “almost hear” or did they “almost seek” or were they “seeking with joy”? You said all people are God-haters, but these people “receive the word of God with joy.”

    Dad: Yeah, well it doesnt really mean that. All people are God-haters till they are regenerated.

    Son: But Daddy, it says that they “believe for a while, but in the time of testing they fall away.” Were they God-haters while they were believing? How could they fall away, since you told me that people can’t believe and fall away?

    Dad: Yeah, well it doesnt really mean what it says.

    Son: The next group says “they do not mature”…. in their belief. They start to believe? Are they God-hating while they are starting to listen to the word? If it says they do not mature… that means they heard and responded, but did not grow right?….. but how can a “too-dead” person do that?

    Dad: Yeah, well it doesnt really mean what it says.

    Son: The fourth group is describe as “good soil” and those with “a noble and good heart.” Is that like Cornelius who was a devout, God-fearing man? That does not sound like God-haters?

    Dad: Yeah, well it doesnt really mean what it says.

    Son: But Daddy, listen….it says…. they “hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop.” When is the regeneration? Before they are good soil or after? Are they good soil…..for a long time….. and then get regenerated so they can hear?

    Dad: Son, there is not good soil…. all soil is rotten, God-hating.

    Son: Oh, I thought it said good soil. But then it says they hear, retain, persevere. That sounds like they participate.

    Dad: It only sounds like that to us….. God cant really tell us He is doing everything. We wouldnt understand.

    Son: But it is a simple earth/soil/ farmer example so people WILL understand isnt it?

    Dad: Yeah, well it doesnt really mean what it says.

    Son: So what is the point of the story, Dad?

    Dad: Men are all depraved (no good soil) and they certainly dont hear and then fall away. They certainly dont believe but not mature…..So …Son…just remember men are T-Totally depraved ….and God U-Unconditionally elects them, L-Limits His love and sacrifice, then I-Irresistibly forces them in, and P-Perseveres them. Does that help?

    Son: No, it doesnt sound like Jesus’ parable at all!

    Dad: Never mind what that says, we know TULIP is true…. Look at all the great minds who follow it! Dont try to understand this story….just trust me. Mostly trust me when I tell you it does not mean what it says.

    1. Fromoverhere wrote :
      Son: But it is a simple earth/soil/ farmer example so people WILL understand isnt it?

      Hey I like this analogy fromoverhere have you ever farmed or even gardened?

      I’m a ole country boy so I’ve been around this some.

      1. Me also Shawn – in my younger years :-]

        Up at the crack of dawn to milk the cows by hand and spend some time in the garden.
        The thing I enjoyed most was making home-made cheese and glaze-smoking it with apple wood.
        But that was many moons ago! :-]

  9. More reading today in Luke 8

    21 He replied, “My mother and brothers are those who hear God’s word and put it into practice.”

    This reminds me of how Calvinists yank verses out of context….like “Jacob have I loved and Esau have I hated.”

    Oh man they go for miles and miles with that! And miss the point about Jews and Gentiles completely.

    Back to verse 21….. Christ is saying ALL the women who believe in Him are His mother?? That’s not His point at all…. but if it worked for someone’s doctrine to use it that way….they would!!!

    [On a side note here: once again we hear and obey….. no special given-faith mentioned. No! That is only found hidden deeply in 1-2 verses that Calvinists say should trump all other verses. Nah….that’s no way to read the Bible!]

  10. Shawn hope your seeing this is good honest counsel I can’t understand how anyone could fall for this theological systematic when coming to the Lord as a wretched sinner saved by grace. I’m assuming it’s, because I didn’t come to Him with head knowledge, but rather in complete desperation. This systematic causes suffering whether a calvinist sees it now or later. I know we all have stories and a past, because this theological perspective was only alluring to me for a moment because I couldn’t understand why those around me in the church didn’t see or know what I knew God had revealed to me ugh what a prideful stance☹ We don’t all mature at the same rate, but I know we have all we need within His Word to grow not a mystical enlightenment that a select few recieve. I cried out in desperation I trusted in Him whom at the time I really didn’t even consider and I opened a Bible that I carried around like a good luck charm and He met me there in my brokenness. When I knew God was real and I experienced His love I figured I better learn what He says! Yeah thank you soooooo much Lord for this site I thought I was alone in knowing He didn’t want me to cling to either of these systematics it was a lonely place and it caused doubt, but now I see there are others. I want to share this email I recieved via email;
    April 13, 2019
    Korah’s Dispute
    “Woe unto them! for they have . . . perished in the gainsaying of Core.” (Jude 1:11)
    Jude describes the Levite Korah’s rebellion against Moses (Numbers 16) as an antilogia (to speak against, dispute, contradict). During that time, Moses and Aaron were the spokespersons for the Lord, with authority and direct instructions from God. The Scriptures take that place today.
    Korah and 250 other “princes of the assembly, famous in the congregation, men of renown” (Numbers 16:2) had decided that they were just as “holy” as Moses and were demanding some share of the leadership (and presumably some of the control). This was far more than a mere leadership struggle.
    Israel had just come through several major miracles (Red Sea parting, manna, water from the rock, etc.), had been given the Ten Commandments, and had built the tabernacle. They had rejected the report of Joshua and Caleb on God’s promise about Canaan and were in the middle of trying to choose a captain to “return into Egypt” (Numbers 14:4). God was really angry with them!
    Korah led this “gainsaying” in an attempt to thwart God’s direction through Moses. Today, that would be equivalent to insisting that science (or philosophy or theology) is just as holy as the text of Scripture. God’s method of testing this antilogia was simple: Each leader was to prepare his own censer and incense (equivalent to his interpretation of God’s Word) and see how God responded to him.
    They perished in a most spectacular display of ruin—“the ground clave asunder that was under them” and they “went down alive into the pit, and the earth closed upon them: and they perished from among the congregation” (Numbers 16:31, 33). God does not tolerate rejection of His message, “for thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name” (Psalm 138:2). HMM III

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