1 John 5:1 Does Not Teach Pre-Faith Regeneration

In an earlier post <here> we presented many passages which clearly indicate the ordo salutis (the order of salvation), as expressed by the apostle John when he wrote, “I have written these things (the gospel) so that you may believe and that by believing you may have life in his name.”  Spiritual life comes through faith, not the other way around.

Since writing that article, Dr. James White has produced a program to address the non-Calvinistic perspective on one verse in particular: 1 John 5:1.

I had a renown Greek scholar, Dr. Brian Abasciano, on the podcast to specifically address White’s grammatical arguments, which you can listen to <here>; however, White expressed a concern on Facebook  <here> about not feeling as if his argument was fairly represented. I addressed his concern on that Facebook post and will now seek to cover what I feel is the bigger issue being overlooked.

Many of you may be familiar with Dr. Sam Storms — he is a Calvinistic pastor who serves on the Board of Directors of both Desiring God and Bethlehem College & Seminary (with John Piper), and also serves as a member of the Council of The Gospel Coalition. His “tradition” is Calvinistic, yet he objectively observes the exact same thing that Dr. Brian Abasciano and I have observed about the clear intention of the apostle John in this passage.

Dr. Storms wrote:

John says in 5:1 that whoever is presently believing in Christ has in the past been born or begotten of God. I.e., a present action of believing is evidence of a past experience of begetting. Is John then saying that new birth or regeneration always precedes and causes saving faith in Christ? Although I believe regeneration (new birth) does precede and cause faith, I do not believe that is John’s point here.

When one examines these texts where the terminology of regeneration is used, one finds that John is concerned with describing the consequences or fruit of the new birth:

Question: “How may I know that regeneration has occurred? How may I know if someone has been born again?”

Answer: “That person will not practice sin (3:9; 5:18). That person will practice righteousness (2:29). That person will love the brethren (4:7). That person will believe in Christ (5:1). And that person will overcome the world (5:4).”

John’s point is simply that these activities are the evidence of the new birth and hence of salvation. Their absence is the evidence that regeneration has not taken place. He makes this point, not because he wants to demonstrate the cause/effect relationship between regeneration and faith, but because he wants to provide the church with tests by which to discern between true and spurious “believers.”Dr. Sam Storms

(Thanks to Dr. Johnathan Pritchett for sending us this link)

I hope this is helpful in better understanding our argument about the “big picture” we believe is being missed by SOME Calvinists who approach this text with the perceived agenda of supporting their belief of pre-faith regeneration.

Secondly, I would like to address White’s comments regarding a Traditionalist (like myself) appealing the grammatical work of an Arminian (like Dr. Abasciano). White wrote,

“[Flowers] used that as the basis of asking his Arminian scholar (funny how he did not turn to his “Traditionalist” mentors in the SBC), Brian Abasciano, to respond.”

Apparently White is under the impression that scholars can only appeal to other scholars if they agree on every point of doctrine? Is every scholar White references in his works a Reformed Baptist scholar? I seriously doubt it. This can be added to a long list of White’s double standards discussed <here>, along with criticizing my use of the word “attack” in reference to his theological arguments, when he has used the same word in reference to my theological arguments.

If one were to read my original post on this topic, they would find this article from Dr. David Allen (a notable Traditionalist scholar) in the footnotes:

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.


* 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.

*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>

***Below is a recent update comment on Facebook from Dr. Brain Abasciano to Dr. White regarding a perceived misunderstanding:

“James, I have now listened to the relevant part of your show that I had not heard when interviewed. I can see that it changes the specifics of your argument so that you are not now arguing that the tenses themselves demand or particularly suggest that the action of the perfect indicative precedes the action of the present substantival participle (though you seemed to argue along those lines in Potter’s Freedom). Is that right? Can you clarify that for me? Do you agree that the combination of verb tenses in 1 John 5:1 (present participle + perfect indicative) does not itself demand or even suggest the action of the perfect indicative as preceding the action of the present participle? That is really what Leighton was focusing on and I was focusing on. So you and Leighton seem to have talked past one another a bit. 

However, listening to the rest of your comments, you made some errors regarding Greek grammar/syntax and I still find your argument unpersuasive. Around the 59:43 mark, you said that when we have a present participle with a perfect finite verb, we are able to determine the relationship of the respective actions to one another. But that is not necessarily true, and it does not come from the grammar. There are general tendencies that can be assumed, but in any particular case, context would have to determine the relationship, and often it might not be clear because the author might not have meant to indicate it. 

Then, around 1:02, you said, presumably of the basic tendency of Greek grammar, that the perfect is either concurrent or antecedent to the present participle. But that is false. As I documented in my Evangelical Quarterly article on 1 John 5:1, the tendency of Greek grammar is for the participle to be concurrent or to precede the action of the indicative. The present participle is especially a candidate for preceding when it is articular, as in 1 John 5:1. Of course, there is no particular tendency for the perfect indicative to precede the present participle. But as I explained in the interview, the rough simultaneity that often obtains can allow for logical order and precedence of one or the other. But that is not indicated by the tenses. They suggest simultaneity and allow for logical order to obtain.

In that same section of comments, you gave some odd reasoning for why the participle would not be concurrent in 2:29, reasoning that suggests misunderstanding of how simultaneity works between participles and indicatives. I do not think that practicing righteousness brings about becoming born again. But since that was the example you used, if the participle were antecedent there, it would not mean that every time a righteous act were performed, the person would be born, but that practicing righteousness would lead to the state of being spiritually alive, born again.

As for what seems to be your main argument, I believe what I said in the interview addresses that. The comments that have been quoted from Calvinist scholar Sam Storms also address it. Let me add here that your appeal to 2 Pet 1:1 and the Granville Sharp rule is misguided. Identification is the actual meaning conveyed by the Granville Sharp construction. (By the way, while I agree that the construction applies in 2 Peter 1:1, it is not just JW’s that contest it, but some legitimate grammarians. It’s not simply a matter of whether someone is orthodox or not for his opinion on the question of 2 Pet 2:1.) But the grammar/syntax of 1 John 2:29, 4;7, and 5:1 does not itself indicate the order of the actions involved. You know the order in 2:29 and 4:7 mostly from theology. We know that we don’t become born again by practicing righteousness or by loving. But this observation goes along with the fact that the main point of those texts is not to indicate which action causes which, but to give evidences of regeneration/ salvation in the interests of the assurance of salvation, which scholars recognize as one of the main purposes of the epistle (not particularly to indicate what regeneration causes).” – Dr. Abasciano 

ADDED: Part 2 of Dr. Abaciano’s reply to Dr. White’s entire argument can be found HERE.

66 thoughts on “1 John 5:1 Does Not Teach Pre-Faith Regeneration

  1. 1 John:
    4:21 God has commanded: The one who loves God must love his bother.
    5:1 It is the one who is begotten by God who loves God and loves his brother (anyone else begotten by God).

    5:2 It is the one who is begotten by God who loves God but keeps His commandments;
    (this is how we know that we love anyone else begotten of God.)
    5:3 This is loving God – keeping His commandments (i.e, loving anyone else begotten of God)

    5:4 It is the one who is begotten by God who overcomes the world (i.e., keep His commandments).
    5:4 How does the one begotten by God overcome the world (i.e., keep His commandments)? – by faith
    5:5 The one who overcomes the world is the one who has faith – he is the one who believes that Jesus is the son of God.

    The one who is begotten by God overcomes the world.
    The one who overcomes the world is the one who believes in Christ.
    The one who is begotten by God is the one who believes in Christ. (So, we are to understand 5:1)

    John is telling us that God is the active agent in initiating salvation. It is God who causes a person to be born again. It is the person who is born again who loves God, loves others born of God, exercises faith to overcome the world and who believes in Christ.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Just a quick comment on something that caught my eye, I will deal with it more fully later God willing.

    Professor Flowers said in his article and I quote: “I have written these things (the gospel) so that you may believe and that by believing you may have life in his name.

    My response: First of all Professor Flowers could I ask what version of the Bible you used in quoting that verse which is BTW is 1 John 5:13.

    Professor Flowers read all the versions of the Bible I listed below on 1 John 5:13, and also check out your Interlinear Bible you will see it corresponds.

    It does not say as you said, “I have written these things (the gospel) so that you may believe and that (by believing you may have life in his name. ”

    It does not say the “things were written so the then and now audience may have eternal life.”

    IT CLEARLY AND PLAINLY SAYS IN ALL THE VERSIONS BELOW “THAT THE THINGS WERE WRITTEN THE THEN AUDIENCE AND PRESENT BELIEVES MAY KNOW (THAT THEY ALREADY HAVE ETERNAL LIFE)

    Could please in the love of Christ and for the truth of God’s word and the honor of Christ please write a retraction of this,

    If you respond and show me I am incorrect I will in writing do likewise. It is the truth I seek after for Christ’s sake and God’s Glory.

    This reminds me of your Psalms 115:3 rendering that needs a retraction from you Sir. Thanks and God bless in Christ.

    Here is what I am reading from several versions and it does not agree with what you wrote above.

    New International Version
    I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.

    English Standard Version
    I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life.

    Berean Study Bible
    I have written these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life.

    New American Standard Bible
    These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life.

    King James Bible
    These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.

    Holman Christian Standard Bible
    I have written these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life.

    International Standard Version
    I have written these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.

    NET Bible
    I have written these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.

    Aramaic Bible in Plain English
    These things I have written to you that you will know that you have Eternal Life, you who believe in the name of The Son of God.

    GOD’S WORD® Translation
    I’ve written this to those who believe in the Son of God so that they will know that they have eternal life.

    English Revised Version
    These things have I written unto you, that ye may know that ye have eternal life, even unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God.

    Like

      1. Could be Dizierner, I am prone to mistakes. I will check and thanks for the heads up. Leighton needs to identify the location of the verses scripture he is quoting. Maybe he did and I did not catch it. Once again thanks and I apologize Professor FLowers if I got you verse incorrect.

        Like

      2. Thank you DEBORAH for showing me this. As the previous post did likewise. It was my mistake and I have apologized to Professor Flowers and asked His forgiveness.

        Although the two verse in question, the one I quoted in 1 John 5:13 and John 20:31 are very close in what they say. Not to make any excuse, because I have always on Soteriology101 I will admit when I am wrong and ask forgiveness which I have done in the preceding post and here, but when you quote a verse of scripture it would be helpful and beneficial to type the reference also, the location of it in the Bible. I have re-read what Professor Flowers said and can not find this reference and location. Also followed the link and could not find the the location stated of the verse Professor Flowers quoted. Still my mistake, we all probably know a lot of verses of scripture, you know a lot I don’t know and I know a lot you don’t know. so when I read that I immediately thought of 1 John 5:13 and not John 20:31. You are probably a little more knowledge of your the location of your Bible verse than me although I think if you see the verses side by side you can see how in my sinful humanity I could have made that mistake that I have admitted and asked forgiveness and only ask for references in the future. We all have our strengths and weakness in different areas of the Bible. So once again I thank you do apologize to Professor Flowers. Only giving him this beneficial suggestion that in the future he gives the reference. Look at the two verse side by side and you can see how I mistakenly and not meanness or malice made this error.
        1 John 5:13 – I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.

        John 20:29 – But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.

        But I would like for you to see John 20:31 in more of its immediate context that Professor Flowers did not give to us. Look at verse John 20:30.

        John 20:30 – Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book.

        You see Deborah, the immediate audience Jesus was talking to was his disciples that he had chosen. In this verse in mentions the many signs (wonders and miracles) that Jesus did in the presence of His disciples that are not even recorded in the Bible. Read the end of verse 30. The gospel was sealed with a vast number of miracles by Jesus that are not recorded or written in Holy Scripture

        Then in verse 31, Jesus says these are written (Flowers calls “these” “the gospel”) a complete ill-informed, misunderstanding and superficial studying of the text. Jesus is not speaking of the “gospel”. He is speaking of “these”. miracles, signs and wonders and the fact that he had risen from the dead and had been appearing to the while they were in a closed room. Jesus would just manifest and materialize. These, what I wrote above were written that they may know that “Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God”

        “These” were written to satisfy the disciples that “Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God.” “it is abundantly sufficient for confirming the faith” Calvin Commentary On John.

        Calvin goes on to say, faith is not founded on miracles, but our faith should rest exclusively on the word of God,” the Gospel, so yes in that sense Professor Flowers is right. But not necessarily the context in this verse.

        Calvin goes on to say, “hat miracles and signs are to be “aids and supports” to faith, that “that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God. They prepare the minds of men, that they may cherish greater reverence the word of God, and we know how cold and sluggish our attention is, if we are not excited by something else

        And from a passage of scripture in Mark 16:19-20 which reads:

        19 So then, after the Lord had spoken to them, He was received up into heaven, and sat down at the right hand of God. 20 And they went out and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them and confirming the word through the accompanying signs. Amen

        God did stretch out his mighty hand and do miracles, as it says the Lord working with them and confirming the word through them with the accompanying signs, (signs, wonders and miracles) And they were numerous in the book of acts affecting those whom the Lord chose the signs, wonders and miracles were to have their intended effect upon.

        As you probably know, miracles were not always effective in the gospel, with the Jesus being the one performing them.

        Matthew 11:23 – And you, Capernaum, will you be exalted to heaven? You will be brought down to Hades. For if the mighty works done in you had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day.

        See in Matthew 11:23 Jesus, the Son of the Living God the Father, did mighty works, (signs and miracles) but the people remained hard-hearted and did not repent.

        But Jesus, who we know is “truth personified” spoke with integrity and honesty and told the “people of Capernaum who remained disbelieving after seeing Jesus’ mighty works) said Sodom (with Gomorrah) which was destroyed with fire and hail” would have repented and remained to this day” if they seen the “mighty works of Jesus, the Son of God’

        Strange how God could have caused these two nations to repent and remain to this day but chose rather to “destroy them” If God truly desires all to repent, that being every single individual without exception, he missed a golden opportunity there. But the “Will of God” for Sodom (and Gomorrah) was not repentance but God’s wrath, vengeance (vengeance is mine, the Lord says) and eternal destruction. Jesus said Sodom would have repented.

        But not Capernaum, who remained disbelieving after seeing the mighty works of God. Read the entire passage below in its immediate context.

        Matthew 11:20 Then He began to rebuke the cities in which most of His mighty works had been done, because they did not repent:

        21 “Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the mighty works which were done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes.

        22 But I say to you, it will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon in the day of judgment than for you.

        23 And you, Capernaum, who are exalted to heaven, will be[d] brought down to Hades; for if the mighty works which were done in you had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. 24 But I say to you that it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment than for you.”

        So, “these” speaking back to John 20:31, is miracles, signs and wonders and are only going to have their intended results on whom God has chosen, that it will show them that. “Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God” Not all individuals as proven in Matthew 11, but those whom God has chosen, it will stir them and show them he is the Christ.

        To show the proof of what I just said, let us read one more passage of scripture in Matthew 11.

        Matthew 11:25 At that time Jesus answered and said, “I thank You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and prudent and have revealed them to babes.

        26 Even so, Father, for so it seemed good in Your sight.

        27 All things have been delivered to Me by My Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father. Nor does anyone know the Father except the Son, and the one to whom the Son wills to reveal Him.

        You see Deborah, right here Jesus in connection and in context with the miracles he did in Capernaum prays to His Father saying,

        “I thank you Father, that you have hidden “these” (the word these again) things (what things, maybe mighty works and miracles in context, I could be wrong if someone will show me) from the wise and prudent and revealed them to babes.

        You see the Father can hide the intended effects from those he chooses, examples, Sodom and Gomorrah, (who would have repented and remained to this day) Jesus said if they had seen His mighty works, and also Capernaum who is in the immediate context of what Jesus just said about miracles and praying to the Father about “hiding these things” (John 20:31, the things that were written to stir and show Jesus was the Son of God) The mighty works were ineffective to Sodom and Gomorrah and Capernaum. They continued rejecting Christ, remained in their disbelief wth the wrath of God abiding on them. And it going to be bad for Capernaum come judgment day according to Jesus, more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrah in Hell than this city here, because Sodom and Gomorrah would have repented and Capernaum hardened their heart and these mighty works did not show them Jesus was the Christ, the Son of God as it did the disciples in John 20:30-21 and many through the book of Acts, and maybe down through the history of time, cannot prove that, but I do not know what all God has done in His Sovereignty. God does not need miracles now with the regenerating power of the Holy Spirit who quickens and makes spiritually dead wicked God hating sinners alive while still in their trespasses and sins, (Ephesians 2:1)

        Also notice Jesus says in Matthew 11:26, praying to the Father, “it seemed good in the Father’s sight” God’s will to blind and not open the hearts of the people to Capernaum through his these “things” Christ’s mighty works. Jesus goes on to say in verse 27. that no one knows the Father except the Son, and the one to whom the Son wills to reveal Him. So mighty works will not work for everyone and not reveal Jesus is the Christ Son of God the Father, and only Jesus through His will chooses who he will reveal the Father too.

        Through the instrumentality of the word of God, the law and the Gospel being preached externally by God’s ministers. the Holy Spirit makes use of the external word and opens the hearts of sinners to believe as he did Lydia

        4 One who heard us was a woman named Lydia, from the city of Thyatira, a seller of purple goods, who was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to pay attention to what was said by Paul.

        See God has to open the heart before one God by faith see and understand and believe in Christ. This is done by the Holy Spirit in connect with preaching the law and Gospel Is this not what Jesus said in the the Gospel of John Chapter 6

        John 6:63 -63 It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life.

        See, it is the Spirit who regenerates and gives life, and then Jesus says the words he Speaks are spirit and they have life. THe Holy Spirit and Jesus are one in essence and the the regenerating quickening life-giving power of the Gospel is through the agency of the Spirit of God and the instrumentality of preaching the Gospel. Just like Lydia though, the heart has to opened first by the Holy Spirit though the to understand and attend and faith in Gospel of Christ.

        Remember Christ Professor Flowers reference in John 20:30 in connection with verse 28 & 29 in connection with what has been said above.
        28 And Thomas answered and said to Him, “My Lord and my God!”

        29 Jesus said to him, “Thomas,[d] because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

        That You May Believe
        30 And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book; 31 but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.

        The disciples were crushed in spirit and doubting about Christ, because of Him being on the Cross, but he reminds them that he is the Christ, Son of God and as Professor Flowers said, “that believing you may have eternal life.”

        This still in no way proves faith precedes the regenerating quickening, life giving power, opening of the heart and giving of faith ability of the Holy Spirit that is absolutely necessary to believe the Gospel and Jesus is our Savior. Professor Flowers is really reaching and reading His tradition into this verse. It is not good to just quote proof texts on such an important and (Spiritual life and death Subject) It must be engaged in depth and in context and tradition must be excluded. Not saying I don’t have tradition because we all do. I just believe Professor Flowers was very superficial in just quoting this verse and saying it means. “faith precedes regeneration” when it in no way in context teaches or implies that.

        Miracles can be dangerous unless directed under God’s control to execute their intended effect for the people the Lord has chosen “the mighty works” for. They can cause mere admiration. We now have the promised Holy Spirit, the law and the Gospel which is effectual in saving people without miracles, although I am open but cautious, knowing that God can do all things and if he has so decreed in His Divine Holy Will in CHrist before eternity can and will use the “mighty works, miracles and signs, these things that are written” to stir sluggish and cold hearted unbelieving sinners to believe Jesus is the Christ, but all of this is the Mighty Working of the Holy Spirit. As the Spirit was given to Jesus without measure.

        John 3:34 – For he whom God has sent utters the words of God, for he gives the Spirit without measure.

        So the meaning of the verse Professor Flowers quoted above in connection with verses 29 though the rest of the chapter means this and only this I believe.

        “these things” (signs miracles and wonders) have been written, that we may believe, so far as faith can be added by signs.}

        And only when God the Holy Spirit opens the heart first, (regeneration preceding faith.)

        “By believing you may have eternal life” I wholly agree with this, it is thus saith the Lord God’s word put does not prove faith Precedes the life giving, the opening of the heart and regenerating power of the Holy Spirit. That is eisegesis, reading into the text what is not there.

        John Calvin continues by saying, “Here John repeats the most important point of His doctrine, that we obtain eternal life by faith, because while we are out of Christ, we are dead until restored by GRACE THROUGH FAITH. NOTICE GRACE, THE POWER OF THE HOLY SPIRIT GRACE PRECEDES FAITH.

        Ephesians 2:8 – 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast.

        Notice again grace is necessarily precedes faith which is the work of the Spirit of Grace. Our entire salvation is of the working power of the Holy Spirit and the disclosing of the law that we are wicked sinners in need of a Savior, it is the gift of God.

        This eternal life is given to all the Father has given to Jesus, (See John 6:37-39 , 44, John 17:2) Jesus gives eternal life only to those the Father has given him. This truth and important doctrine is also stated in John 10, you should read it.

        2 Timothy 2:10 Therefore nI endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain othe salvation that is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.

        One last passage of Scripture that illuminates the other scriptures and strengthens my argument.

        2 Timothy 1: 9 who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began,

        10 but has now been revealed by the appearing of our Savior Jesus Christ, who has abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel,

        This passage of scripture says God has saved us and called us with a holy calling, (that internal calling, effectual call of the Holy Spirit in connection with the preached word, the Spirit gives understanding and faith in Christ who is the gospel)

        It goes on to say in verse 9, “grace was given to “us” (the beloved, the elect, the given ones, the coming/believing ones. John 6:37-39, John 17:2, John 10, the sheep Jesus died for whom the Father has given to Him and gives them eternal life, not all people without exception)

        Jesus did not come to make “salvation a possibility” (possibility salvation) through the sinful voluntary enslaved will that loves and takes pleasure in sin. That is through the sinful will evil wicked man repenting of their sins and believing in the Gospel. Remember 6:63, it said the “the flesh profits nothing, it is the Spirit that gives quickening life to repent of sins towards God and embrace Christ through faith in the Gospel.

        2 Timothy 1:9 says grace was given before time began, before time eternal, the interlinear bible says, it was in the mind of God, (his intent) from all eternity to grace to the elect before time began in eternity in union with Christ. The elect or given ones, (John 6:37-39) have always been graced from eternity in Christ when they were chosen or elected in Him and when they are saved in time and history. We are saved by the grace of God, through faith in Christ, Because of Christ, to the Glory of God. I could give you other scriptures that says we are not born of the will of man, but we were born of God and that is is because of God that we are in Christ Jesus, and that not of ourselves it is the gift of God, from beginning to end and everything in between

        But something very interesting is said in verse 10 of 2 Timothy . Paul says, “by the appearing of our Savior Jesus Christ (who is perfect savior and will save His people from their sins and his soul will be satisfied (Matthew, Isaiah 53.

        Verse 10 goes on to say this, and i emphasize not shouting, (life and immortality was brought to light through the gospel.

        The life quickening power of the Holy Spirit that enables us to believe and come to Christ though the instrumentality of the preaching of the Gospel brings to “light” the “life” that has been given us by the Holy Spirit by believing the gospel.

        John Newton, a Calvinist, who wrote the probably the most famous christian hymn of all time, wrote in that song, “how precious did, that grace appear (saving grace) the hour I first believed. (in the Gospel)

        See there is life giving regenerating power within us before we believe and embrace Christ as our Saviour through the preaching of the Gospel.

        But the “life, grace” did not appear or be brought to life (2 Timothy 1:10) until we believed. The spiritual life regenerating of the Holy Spirit was there but the sinner is not conscience until he believes in Christ his Savior. That happens when he believes and life is brought to life and made apparent to the sinner that he is now in Christ.

        Sorry so long, probably should have been written directly to Professor Flowers who needs to dig deeper and not be so superficial in his study of God’s word. Now I am not directing professor Flowers. I have said more than once he is a godly and Christian man, although Dr. White feels he left the bounds of sound Christian behavior in a recent podcast.

        We will find out to today, go to alpha and omega ministries, listen to Dr. White refutation of Professor Flowers concerning “faith prodeding regeneraton. I am calling “Friday Smackdown, Let’s get ready to rumble” Just joking a little

        Blessings I will this post on my site in case I am unable to post here that being so long and maybe wrong I admit, time will tell and may God lead us into the truth of His word realizing Calvinism is not the “whole counsel of God” it is only part and parcel to those who believe in its reality. May God direct us to grow in the grace of His holiness and knowing Christ intimately in all of His Holy Word with the sincere application of it to our lives bringing the God’s desired result, sanctification in Christ, Christlikeness. Sorry for any typos gotta run.

        Like

      3. Updated my response to Professor Flowers on his take of John 20:31 teaching “faith precedes regeneration.” I fixed the errors, mistakes, incoherent sentences and punctuation and now the response flows smooth and much easier to read and comprehend. Wrote the first one in a fury, has a doctor’s appointment. But to God be the Glory through our Lord Jesus Christ

        Link below:

        https://reformedsoteriologyblog.wordpress.com/2016/04/15/soteriology101-commenting-on-professor-flowers-on-john-2031/

        Like

      4. Professor Flowers,
        I wanted to do this in public on your facebook site but I am no longer able to do so. I did send you a private message of apology. I wrongfully sinned against you Sir. As you layman I had no right to demand a public apology form a called minister of Christ who is to to be held in high esteem. First of all, I need to lead a quiet life and mind my own business. There I sinned also getting into and saying things that do not concern me. Also I sinfully accused you of antagonizing and trying to pit Dr White and Dr. A against the other in a debate. This was also sinfully wrong. I lost all self-control, forgot that the reformed soteriology system of belief is only a small part and parcel of the whole “Council of God’s Word” who demands mercy and kindness in Christ which I failed to show you yesterday. I am so sorry Sir and ask for your forgiveness. I promise this is not pretended humility. You as well as Brian know how I can act and misbehave sinfully at times and did big time yesterday. I am going to mind my own business when it comes to you and White personally.

        In CHrist Kevin, have mercy on me a sinner Oh God

        Like

  3. Dr. White wrote on his facebook site and I quote: Everyone ready for a RADIO FREE GENEVA on Friday? Because I sure am! Had to endure listening to Leighton Flowers’ “Soteriology 101” podcast where he pretended to respond to my comments about 1 John 5:1. I say pretended because Flowers did not bother playing my actual argument. Instead, he played comments made AFTER my argument, and used that as the basis of asking his Arminian scholar (funny how he did not turn to his “Traditionalist” mentors in the SBC), Brian Abasciano, to respond. My actual argument was never played, and in fact, Abasciano had to bring it up at the END of the program like an afterthought—and his attempted response is, well, educational. Flowers dropped the mask and was just plain NASTY with his attacks in this one. But as always, a good opportunity to examine the failed man-based systems of soteriology, so, Friday, 11am….RADIO FREE GENEVA!

    I cannot wait until Friday, whooooo man……Thank you Dr. White for not ignoring this one.

    Like

  4. Reformedsoteriology101…

    The way I read it is that Professor Flowers was referencing John 20:31 as stated in the first paragraph in regards to that particular scripture, ” I have written these things (the gospel) so that you may believe and that by believing you may have life in His name.” John 20:31
    He also gives a link.

    Like

  5. Great expositional/exegetical information, Leighton, on what the Scripture teaches about God’s initiating the new birth life, which is everlasting life, given only after an individual expresses an act of trust in His Son. And good observation that the Scripture teaches that “the new birth precedes the ongoing life of faith.”

    Regeneration does change the will in an irreversible way. On this I, and I believe you, Leighton, are in agreement with our Calvinist brothers. Once born again, the trusting will never stop in that child of God! And we probably also agree that at the resurrection, our sinning will stop forever. Praise His name!

    I also praise His name that He offers the unregenerate will of everyone the opportunity to seek to trust or reject His Son for salvation, and that when He sees that choice made to trust, He grants the new birth, which is everlasting life! Everlasting life is not added after the new birth. The new birth is the event of being made alive forever, and that happens after an act of humble faith!

    Like

  6. Hi Brian,
    Hope you are doing well by brother

    Your last post and paragraph said:”I also praise His name that He offers the unregenerate will of everyone the opportunity to seek to trust or reject His Son for salvation, and that when He sees that choice made to trust, He grants the new birth, which is everlasting life! Everlasting life is not added after the new birth. The new birth is the event of being made alive forever, and that happens after an act of humble faith!”

    Can you show me through consistent teaching of the Holy Scriptures to show the reality of ALL you said in that pararagh. I would be interested to see my brother Christ.

    God bless and have a great day in the Lord.

    Like

    1. Good morning Kevin, I hope you wanted my Scriptural input because you are truly open to change your mind. I hope you are not just looking for an opportunity to respond with reformed thinking about these verses. We actually have gone over these verses, so I am a little “gun-shy” about bringing it all up again. We may just end up talking past each other as before. But here goes… I will repeat what I said that you just quoted and give verses and my explanation, which I think is the normal meaning, in brackets following the verses.

      ”I also praise His name that He offers the unregenerate will of everyone the opportunity to seek to trust or reject His Son for salvation”

      John 1:4 In Him was life, and the life was the light of men
      John 1:9 That was the true Light which gives light to every man coming into the world.

      [The “light” of men is connected to the life of Christ, which is everlasting life. He gives this light to EVERY MAN for the purpose of drawing them towards receiving the LIFE.]

      “and that when He sees that choice made to trust, He grants the new birth, which is everlasting life!”

      John 1:11 He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him.
      John 1:12 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name:
      John 1:13 who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

      [Some of those He created rejected the LIGHT they were given (especially the Jewish leaders, representing the nation as a whole), but some received Him (like the disciples, for example, and thousands of Jews at Pentecost). They did not BECOME children of God until AFTER the had received Him. And those who ACCEPTED are the same as those who BELIEVE. So belief and acceptance go together, and once there is acceptance, God gives the right to BECOME a child of His. Becoming a Child of God is being born again. One is not born and THEN becomes a child; that is a twisting of the normal reading of this passage!]

      “Everlasting life is not added after the new birth. The new birth is the event of being made alive forever, and that happens after enlightenment and an act of humble faith!”

      John 12:35 Then Jesus said to them, “A little while longer the light is with you. Walk while you have the light, lest darkness overtake you; he who walks in darkness does not know where he is going.
      John 12:36 “While you have the light, believe in the light, that you may become sons of light.” These things Jesus spoke, and departed, and was hidden from them.

      [This passage is from Jesus’ own words showing how light comes first, then belief, then new birth, that is, becoming “sons of light.” It also presents Jesus’ warning not to reject the light. That warning would make no sense for the Calvinist “elect”, since they would not reject, nor for the Calvinist “reprobate” since they would not be able to “walk” while they have the light.]

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Brain I am willing to change my mind if I am wrong, I have admitted than more than once on here so not sure why you are even bringing it up. So far you have failed in your attempts. Sorry, not meant to offend, just being honest.

        The question is “are you willing to change if you are shown to be wrong Brian” That i am not to sure about though, but only God can give repentance leading one to the truth who is in opposition to even certain truths of His Holy Word.

        I hope YOU BRIAN are not looking for an opportunity to respond with a non-reformed response!!!

        Please making insinuations like this as if you can peer into my heart Brian, It is unbecoming of you Sir.

        I truly and sincerely believe is truly to be the truth of God’s word. Let God be my Judge.

        Why are you talking to me like this not knowing my heart and are in deep danger of serving a diminished humanist god of Open Theism yourself. You know what, it is time to be honest and open here, (no pun intended)

        But please do not patronize me Brian ok;

        I know we have gone over and over these verses my friend, and I said we are at a stand-off and maybe you should no longer reply in a past recent post maybe you do not remember. We are not going to agree brother. Only the Holy Spirit in Christ can show which one of us is wrong and which is correct,

        So why do you continue to respond when I suggested you stop responding because we were at a draw. God’s true truth has been sown from one of us. Someone else will water and God will give the increase, bringing darkness to light.

        I do not think I talked past you before Brian, I answered practically every word you spoke with your proof texts. But you on the other hand disregarded large portions of what I wrote. I know I write a lot and that makes it difficult for a busy man like you. I understand. But Rome wasn’t built in a day and you did not have to respond to everything I wrote in one day. I even told you told you if you will remember, “take a week, take a few weeks etc to respond

        I read the rest of your verses and comments my friend in Christ, we have been there and done that and we ain’t going back!!! Time to move forward, forgetting those things which are behind!!!!

        Like Kobe Bryant said who just retired from the NBA, “MAMBA OUT”

        “Kevin out”

        God bless my brother in Christ

        Like

      2. Ok, faithful are the wounds of a friend! Here comes a wound Kevin… get ready! 🙂 Before you reply… read everything in this post. I am getting the feeling that you read some then reply and then read some more and then reply and therefore do not see the bigger picture sometimes before replying. And also I really think you have a short term memory problem which causes you to forget the flow of previous conversations and what even you had written before, causing you to misunderstand why I respond to you with what I respond and how I respond! Now don’t respond yet… keep reading!

        Leighton had posted the comment about the definition “responsible” including the idea “response-able”. Les wrote to counter his view of that word, trying to prove that it does not have that idea in it as a dictionary definition. You wrote, showing agreement with Les. I wrote giving evidence that countered Les and agreed with Leighton. The SCRIPTURES were not being discussed… the legitimate meaning of a word in peoples’ understanding was! Got it? To chide me for leaving out Scriptures in support of the dictionary definition of the English word “responsible” was not germane to that discussion! So you shouldn’t have expected verses in my response to Les! Keep reading, before responding!

        But there was also another post thread from me, and YOU WERE the one that asked for me to give verses to support this other posted statement that I made about faith being before the new birth and that that the new birth is everlasting life! I followed up your request but first stated that I was a little “gun-shy” to do so since it was old ground that we had covered before… which legitimately made me wonder what your motive was for asking again for Scriptures… My expressing of my hope that your request was because you were now open to listen to the verses that I would point to and to the normal understanding of them and that you were not just looking to argue against them as you had done in the past SHOULD NOT be taken as patronizing, if our friendship truly exists. You should have thought the best of my expressions of hope and fears about our conversations

        I am beginning to think our conversations online are not being of much help anymore to either of us! I am sorry for that. I may be choosing not to respond to things you write in the future when hey mention my name, though I will address a direct question or request to me. I am sorry that my responses seem sometimes inadequate to you. I assure you I attempt to answer sufficiently each major point, though I do think it is helpful to lump obvious subpoints together in my response. You may have to specify what I missed instead of just saying what I wrote was inadequate.

        There is, however, one more response I would like to make concerning your discussion of inability in the non-elect. None of your verses clearly spoke of God determining before creation that most would never be given the ability to freely accept or reject His mercy. All those verses are easily understood as God hardening some after they freely have rejected His mercy. Romans 11:32 clearly does say that His plan includes having mercy on ALL! You said – “He passes over them [the non-elect] and does not show them mercy.” This statement you made is false in light of Rom 11:32.

        I wish only the best for you, my friend.

        Like

      3. Brian I feel no wound or hurt. You once again talk as if you know me. I know les commented on the responsible word Sir. But I does not agree with scripture. I am being short not because of your “wounds” of a friend comment (you have a very high estimation of yourself Brian) I just don’t think there is anything left for us to discuss my friend. My memory is just as good as the next person and as bad as the next person. Accusations upon accusations from someone who does not or barely knows me. But that is the argument. Belittle me with the excuse of (wounds of a friend) thinking it will be effectual and it has no effect on my whatsoever because you think you know so much you think of yourself higher than you ought. You ……don’t……..know…….me…….sir You are smarting I think because I can intelligently and logically although not perfectly debate with you and I am not a scholar. Just a layman, amateur schoolboy. All these things you think you know about me Brian you need to really ask yourself if it is necessary. You are not God, you do not know me, but you act so superior and I have stood toe to toe with you. I thought in friendship but you’re patronizing me, pretending to be superior is really starting to shift things in the wrong direction. I more than asked you not to reply to my post Brian. You reply because I am a challenge to you and you know it. You can say I am being arrogant if you want, but I know by the grace of God I have tried to gentle, asked forgiveness, and I told you it is time to forget those things which are behind.

        In Christ Kevin out

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Brian my friend in Christ, I have decided by praying to go ahead and wrap all this up once and for all. You make so many accusations without even knowing for sure what I am doing. For example ( I am not going to address all the silly ad hominem comments) toward me. It is just is not worth my time. You spend more time in your post telling me what you ‘THINK YOU KNOW” I do with your post and others post than interacting with my own arguments. Again, your “faithful wounds of a friend” comment made me chuckle when all I sensed was a false humility, patronizing and a trying to look superior by talking more about me than my arguments. This has happened off and on.

        I always read the whole post or response first Brian, so you were wrong and being disingenuous implying that I do not. Then yes I break it down and reply, always going back up to the upper part ot the post to ensure I get it right. Have I made mistakes, surely I have, you have pointed some out to me. But so have you my friend. “The pot is black said the kettle” How bout when you were defining the words “giving” and “elected” with the same definition. I just responded and corrected you and did not make a big deal out of it because I did not want to do anything ill-will as your sinful accusations above. Many of them. I chuckled and laughed a little at your “faithful wound” comment, you telling “to get ready” as if I would be devastated as Brian’s vast a go crying in a corner. This is not my first rodeo and if you have not noticed by now I have a very strong personality. So your words fell to the ground powerless. I don’t like to be patronized. That is what you have done with your sinful accusations that I deserve an apology for. No one is perfect on here. I could write a post so long at how I think you are doing things wrong in your post it would definitely make you cry like a Baby. The only thing i ever really complained about is a lack of scripture and as a Bible Greek Scholar you should know better and I expected more out of you.

        So I addressed one of your sinful patronizing ad hominem accusations from above. It is as if you think you know more about me than God. Well…???? Just saying….

        As far as I am concerned Dr. White sealed the deal yesterday, not because of White only, but because I have an unction and anointing abiding within me that teaches me all things. I know that I have the right understanding of Scripture until God shows me otherwise. Leighton seems pretty upset. I knew he was taking this way to personal with Dr. White and this would eventually happen. Leighton was exposed yesterday on The Dividing Line. He does not know the Doctrines of grace correctly and I do not believe he ever did, my opinion, from the things I have heard him say and write. Do me a favor and don’t be Flowers lap dog and respond defending him. I will no longer be posting here anymore and will stop any comments from being made on my own site and other social sites that I have posted my articles and will just do personal study. I bless you in Christ, ask you to forgive me and sorry it had to happen this way. But i was ready to make this decision anyway.

        Blessings in Christ

        Liked by 1 person

      5. I’m sorry my Brother! I truly was trying to be helpful and encouraging. Please forgive me for not seeing how my words were harsh and insensitive.

        Liked by 1 person

      6. No problem Brian, You are good man, a godly man, not perfect as none of us. I am sure if I go back and read what I wrote i would be as guilty, I was not offended in the least of what you wrote just did not accept it. May God continue to bless us both in our efforts to understand His truth. I think my site is now locked down from comments or further messages, not because of you, I just feel my time is done here, Blessing my friend in Christ

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Dr. Abasciano writes, “…the grammar/syntax of 1 John 2:29, 4;7, and 5:1 does not itself indicate the order of the actions involved. You know the order in 2:29 and 4:7 mostly from theology. We know that we don’t become born again by practicing righteousness or by loving. But this observation goes along with the fact that the main point of those texts is not to indicate which action causes which, but to give evidences of regeneration/ salvation in the interests of the assurance of salvation, which scholars recognize as one of the main purposes of the epistle (not particularly to indicate what regeneration causes).”

    That issue that is ignored by Dr. Allen is finally addressed by Dr. Abasciano in his final paragraph. The issue is whether John, in writing the epistle, used the same grammar/syntex on purpose to guide the reader in understanding the verses.

    The three verses cited are 1 John 2:29; 4:7, and 5:1.

    2:29 …every one that does righteousness is born of him.
    4:7 …every one that loves is born of God,…
    5:1 Whosoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God:..

    The Greek text follows the same form in each verse: whosoever (every one) who does X is Y. In each verse, we have a present participle (X – does rightoeousness, loves, believes) followed by a perfect indicative (Y – born).

    James White concludes that 2:29 and 4:7 cannot be saying that a person who does righteousness or loves is then born of God but that a person who is born of God then does righteousness and loves. Dr. Abasciano partially agrees writing, “We know that we don’t become born again by practicing righteousness or by loving.” Dr. Abasciano then says that the Greek text does not require this understanding and that it is White’s Calvinist theology that requires him to read all three verses in this way.

    White’s theology leads him to read the three verses in a consistent manner. The objection is that White cannot legitimately extend his theological position on 2:29 and 4:7 to 5:1 and conclude that one must be born again in order to believe that Jesus is the Christ.

    Dr. Abasciano concludes that these verses need not be read consistently as White maintains. He proposes that 5:1 does not have to be read in the same manner as 2:29 and 4:7, so the reader should not think that John means to say that one must be born again in order to believe – Johns purpose is not to provide the order of events in salvation but only to identify characteristics of those who are saved. Those who are saved will be righteous; they will love; they will believe, but the Greek allows the actions of being righteous loving and believing may come before the person being born again or after. Apparently, one’s theology determines whether these verses are to be understood in consistent manner or that two (2:29; 4:7) can be and one (5:1) is not.

    Like

    1. It’s not theology without Scriptural teaching, Roger, that overturns the inference White was trying to make from 1Jn 5:1. Both Abasciano and White agreed that 1John is teaching what being born again produces… that is the continual practice of righteousness, love, and believing the fact that Jesus is the Christ. But it is only an inference that White wanted to dogmatically say is proven by these verses that any act of righteousness, love or faith is impossible before being born again or impossible to be a part of God’s order of salvation. That is a hinted at inference from this verse, not a logically necessary inference for this verse.

      His inference would possibly be correct, if there were no other Scriptures to the contrary. However those who are not yet born again can indeed show love – Luke 6:32 “But if you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them.” And the not yet saved can show righteousness – Acts 10:35 “But in every nation whoever fears Him and works righteousness is accepted by Him.” The acts of love or righteousness do not save them, nor are they a necessary part of what God looks for before granting the new birth. But the unregenerate can also, with God’s enlightenment, express faith and make a commitment to receive Jesus as Savior! God is looking for that!

      Now if they do that… express faith, taking Jesus as their Savior (John 1:12), God does respond according to His promise and plan and grant them the right to become His children by His act of giving them the new birth. Their faith does not cause the new birth directly, but God has ordained that it must be present before He causes the new birth. Once they have that new birth their will is irresistibly changed, and His promise of discipline for His children kicks-in, so that they will never stop working righteousness, loving, or believing that Jesus is the Christ.

      I hope now Roger you can see the reasonableness and Scripture support for refuting the inference that White says is necessarily taught in 1John 5:1, which is a verse that plainly is NOT teaching how one comes to receive the new birth. I am glad for Jesus’ words in this regard, which I shared above, but you may have missed it –

      John 12:35 Then Jesus said to them, “A little while longer the light is with you. Walk while you have the light, lest darkness overtake you; he who walks in darkness does not know where he is going.
      John 12:36 “While you have the light, believe in the light, that you may become sons of light.” These things Jesus spoke, and departed, and was hidden from them.

      This passage is from Jesus’ own words showing how light comes first, then belief, then new birth, that is, becoming “sons of light.” It also presents Jesus’ warning not to reject the light. That warning would make no sense for the Calvinist “elect”, since they would not reject, nor for the Calvinist “reprobate” since they would not be able to “walk” while they have the light.

      Like

      1. brianwagner writes, “…it is only an inference that White wanted to dogmatically say is proven by these verses that any act of righteousness, love or faith is impossible before being born again or impossible to be a part of God’s order of salvation. That is a hinted at inference from this verse, not a logically necessary inference for this verse.”

        Good stuff, you write, but do you present a valid argument. There are two key issues that must be resolved before following your approach.

        The first is whether there are rules of hermeneutics that a person can follow in seeking to interpret the Greek language. James White says that there is a rule that applies in the case of 1 John 5:1. That rule says that those Scriptures that are written in a common style of grammar/syntex are to be understood the same way. 1 John 2:29; 4:7; and 5:1 are essentially the same sentence speaking of doing righteousness, loving and believing in the same sense. So, is James White correct to say that there is a rule of hermeneutics that the person should apply to 2:29; 4:7; and 5:1 to understand what each verse is saying. If not, then do we allow that two unique distinct understandings of each verse are possible and it is not possible through analysis of grammar/syntax to determine that understanding? So, what is your take on this – rules of hermeneutics exist and has James White applied a valid rule? Or is there no rule that applies and one’s theology rules one’s understanding?

        Second, if there are rules of hermeneutics for understanding the Scriptures, we can look for exceptions to that rule being employed. Must an exception be derived from the immediate context in which the contested Scripture is found? Is White correct in saying that nothing in the immediate context of these three verses leads us to understand one verse differently than the others (or perhaps each of the three unique from the others). Is White correct when he says that there is nothing in the immediate context in which these verses are found that causes us to understand one verse in a different manner than the other two? Because Dr. Abasciano says that one’s “theology” controls how we are to understand these verses and you are saying that other verses not in the same grammatical/syntactical pattern are needed to understand 5:1, in particular, it would appear that White is correct in his analysis.

        If White is correct that a rule of hermeneutics can be applied to these verses and nothing in the immediate context tells us to understand the verses other than a consistent manner, then we have an all-or-none situation. All three verses should be understood in either of two ways – one verb tense preceding or following the other in logical order. Which order than then be determined by one’s theology. So, what is your take on this – is White’s analysis correct?

        Finally, you say that you don’t like what happens if we enforce a hard hermeneutical rule when analyzing these verses. You want the verses (o,r at least, 5:1) to be considered separately in context with the whole of Scripture outside 1 John (which is not a bad rule to employ for understanding any Scripture so long as no other rules are violated). In this case, it seems that your approach can only be driven by one’s theology in which one necessarily assumes the conclusion they seek (i.e., begging the question). Is that your sense of what you are doing (or anyone else would be doing in this case)?

        In the end, absent a sound hermeneutical rule to follow (meaning that While’s claims for such a rule is misplaced), then anyone’s understanding of these verse necessarily must be driven by one’s theology as Dr. Abasciano claims.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Hi Roger! Thank you for your kind words. The rule White applied for the interpretation of these three verses the same way in their contexts is sound… but White was not interpreting when He went on to make inferences that were unintended by the author John. It is not hermeneutics to make dogmatic inferences that are not logically necessary.

        How do you think we got the dogma of infant baptism in Christianity? They said certain verses leave open the possibility for infant baptism or point to it. But none of those verses were designed to teach infant baptism by the original authors. And because of dogmatic inferences that are made concerning infant baptism, other verses are actually set aside that clearly teach faith must precede water baptism.

        The same is true here. John was not teaching how to get saved, but he was clearly teaching what is true about the saved life in all three verses. The grammar says a continued action must exist of righteousness, love, and belief in the truth that Jesus is the Christ in everyone who is born again.

        John was not making any clear inferences about how to get saved. To try to do that with these verses is to open a hermeneutic pandora’s box that can be used to make the Scripture teach anything as long as there is a hint in some direction. And many have done and still do that very thing. White was doing that with this passage. Inferences must be of a logical necessity to be valid for dogmatism, not just from wishful theological constructs.

        1John 5:1 does not negate the possibility that faith might not be a part of how one becomes born again, but neither does it prove dogmatically that the presence of faith of some kind is not a part of how one becomes born again.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. brianwagner writes, “The rule White applied for the interpretation of these three verses the same way in their contexts is sound…

        John was not teaching how to get saved, but he was clearly teaching what is true about the saved life in all three verses. The grammar says a continued action must exist of righteousness, love, and belief in the truth that Jesus is the Christ in everyone who is born again.”

        Then you and White agree on that which John tells the reader (and presumable meant to tell the reader) by the basically identical grammar/syntax of the three verses.

        Dr, Abasciano asked “Do you agree that the combination of verb tenses in 1 John 5:1 (present participle + perfect indicative) does not itself demand or even suggest the action of the perfect indicative as preceding the action of the present participle?” To this, both you and White would answer, Yes. However, both you and White would also say – with Abasciano – that whatever action is denoted by the perfect indicative will either precede or follow the action of the present participle and do so consistently in each verse. That is the point White was so dogmatic about.

        The controversy comes because everyone seems to agree that doing righteousness and loving (2:29; 4:7) are the result of being born of God and “cannot” be present prior to a person being born of God. No one maintains that a person can do righteousness or be loving without first being born of God. 5:1 must be understood in the same way – believing that Jesus is the Christ must also result from being born of God; believing that Jesus is the Christ cannot precede being born of God because nothing in the surrounding context supports understanding this verse differently than 2:29 and 4:7.

        Then “John was not making any clear inferences about how to get saved. To try to do that with these verses is to open a hermeneutic pandora’s box that can be used to make the Scripture teach anything as long as there is a hint in some direction. And many have done and still do that very thing. White was doing that with this passage. Inferences must be of a logical necessity to be valid for dogmatism, not just from wishful theological constructs.’

        White was not doing this. White made two key points. (1) The three verses are essentially identical in grammar/syntax. (2) The three verses must be understood similarly. The “inference” comes into play because 2:29 and 4:7 are universally taken to require a specific order – being born of God followed by doing righteousness and loving. That order is then “inferred” to 5:1 (consistent with the rules) so that being born of God is followed by believing that Jesus is the Christ. That is the point White was so dogmatic about – 5:1 must be understood in the same way that we understand 2:29; 4:7.

        Then “1John 5:1 does not negate the possibility that faith might not be a part of how one becomes born again, but neither does it prove dogmatically that the presence of faith of some kind is not a part of how one becomes born again.”

        I think all would agree to this. John does not mention faith or its role in a person being born of God or doing righteousness, loving and believing. That is a subject to be resolved through appeal to other Scriptures.

        Nonetheless, by virtue of 1 John 5:1, we conclude that one is first born of God and then one believes that Jesus is the Christ. Where does faith come into this? The Calvinist defines faith as believing that Jesus is the Christ. Thus, a person is saved by grace through faith (through believing that Jesus is the Christ). Defining “faith” as “believing that Jesus is the Christ” is Calvinist theology (the point Abasciano makes) and explains how the Calvinist would take 5:1 to support regeneration (born of God) before faith (believing that Jesus is Christ).

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Roger, we are going in circles, I think, which makes me wonder if you are reading what I am writing!

        You said – “However, both you and White would also say – with Abasciano – that whatever action is denoted by the perfect indicative will either precede or follow the action of the present participle and do so consistently in each verse.”

        That is true… but I still don’t think that you are considering John’s definition of the consistent action that follows being born again. John is talking about the ability to not stop showing righteousness, love, and faith that Jesus is the Christ. That non-stop ability after being reborn does not preclude the possibility of a temporary ability to show righteousness, love, and faith that Jesus is the Christ before being born again. Don’t you see that Scripture teaches both this temporary ability of faith before new birth and the non-stop ability of it after new birth? You did not interact with the verses from John 12 that I presented in support of this.

        You then said – “No one maintains that a person can do righteousness or be loving without first being born of God.”

        Actually, I do, and did! Did you not read what I shared earlier, showing the Scriptural evidence that unregenerate people can indeed show love and righteousness? Luke 6:32, Acts 10:35.

        I’m glad you agreed that it is truly an inference that White was making, that is, his false inference that this non-stop ability of righteousness, love and faith after new birth precludes any temporary ability in those areas before new-birth. I wish you would concede that it is not a necessary inference from this passage, taken by itself, or from the other two passages in 1John, taken by themselves. And it seems you did agree that other Scriptures are needed to prove if some kind of faith is not part of what is necessary before the new birth takes place. You said – “That is a subject to be resolved through appeal to other Scriptures.”

        So it surprised me that you would still say – “Nonetheless, by virtue of 1 John 5:1, we conclude that one is first born of God and then one believes that Jesus is the Christ.” or that you would still say – “White was not doing this…” that is, he was not, as I said, making dogmatic inferences that are not logically necessary from those passages in 1John. Did you follow my example of how the same unsafe reasoning is used to try to prove infant baptism as Scriptural using only inferences that are not necessary to the passages chosen for them?

        Let me give another example – What if we were living in the new heavens and new earth and I said – “Everyone who is believing that Jesus is the Christ has been resurrected.” That would be a true statement, correct? It would neither discount the truth that earlier in history some of those same people had a continual trust that Jesus is the Christ, nor would it discount the truth that non-believers earlier in history have now also been resurrected. It wouldn’t also be saying anything about what God had decided should be a prerequisite for being resurrected. Now substitute “has been born again” for “has been resurrected”… and the same sound reasoning applies.

        It is so important that we do not try to prove doctrine from theological inference or extrapolation. You are free to have personal beliefs based on inferences and extrapolations, but you should never say that the Scriptures, where you got those inferences, “clearly” teach those things, and that everyone should believe it!

        Liked by 1 person

      5. brianwagner writes, “That non-stop ability after being reborn does not preclude the possibility of a temporary ability to show righteousness, love, and faith that Jesus is the Christ before being born again. Don’t you see that Scripture teaches both this temporary ability of faith before new birth and the non-stop ability of it after new birth? You did not interact with the verses from John 12 that I presented in support of this.”

        There is a difference between that righteousness, love, and faith that exists prior to a person being born of God and that which appears afterwards. Do you mean to suggest that people who are born of God actually manifest the same righteousness, love and faith they might have exhibited prior to being born again? Paul reiterates in Romans that none are righteous and the unsaved are slave to sin. This means that any righteousness, love or faith the unsaved exhibit is not to the glory of God but to their own glory – they are spiritually dead; they have no thought of God in anything they do. We see the same words being used to describe the works of the unsaved and the born of God but those words mean very different things regarding the works of each. You asked, “Did you not read what I shared earlier, showing the Scriptural evidence that unregenerate people can indeed show love and righteousness?” Do you really mean to argue that the works of the unregenerate should be considered the same as those of the regenerate? I think this shows that there is a difference between the non-Calvinist mindset that you exhibit and the Calvinist mindset that I exhibit. That’s the way you are, and that’s the way I am. We have different worldviews.

        In John 12, we naturally find everyone to whom Jesus spoke deciding to walk in the light and putting their trust in that light, don’t we? So, is there something else going on that causes everyone to trust Christ at this point? We are not told, but given that they all respond favorably to Christ and begin to trust Him, we might suspect the hand of God in it. Shouldn’t we? Regardless, preachers today exhort people to do the same things and they all do. Your point, I think, is to show that a person can come to be a son of God by his own effort – that of first deciding to come to the light and then believing after which God has promised to make them sons of God.

        If 1 John 5:1 is accurate, and their is no reason why we should think otherwise, then we should expect that none of those people responded as Jesus exhorted them to do and could do so only after being born of God. John 12 is a great example but it doesn’t tell us beyond that Christ exhorted people to trust Him. 1 John 5 suggests that the end result could not have been positive.

        Then, “I’m glad you agreed that it is truly an inference that White was making, that is, his false inference that this non-stop ability of righteousness, love and faith after new birth precludes any temporary ability in those areas before new-birth. I wish you would concede that it is not a necessary inference from this passage, taken by itself, or from the other two passages in 1John, taken by themselves.”

        Oh, Brian!!! The only inference I find White to make is to identify an universal agreement on order in 2:29 and 4:7 and then to infer that order to 5:1. If this is a false inference, then we have to go back and ask if there is a rule of hermeneutics that applies to all these verses and whether White applied that rule correctly. Earlier you seemed to agree that such a rule did exist and While did apply it correctly. Now, you seem to be backing off. So, let’s clarify this issue. White says that there is a rule of hermeneutics that we can apply to the three verses (because they are essentially identical in grammar/syntax) and that rule can be applied consistently to each verse. Do you agree with White on this point? If not, please explain how you disagree with White?

        Then, “And it seems you did agree that other Scriptures are needed to prove if some kind of faith is not part of what is necessary before the new birth takes place. You said – “That is a subject to be resolved through appeal to other Scriptures.”

        Let us be clear that we are not dealing with faith as 5:1 does not use that term. Let’s set aside the Calvinist theology that makes faith = believing that Jesus is Christ. All we know is that we have three verses – 2:29, 4:7, 5:1 – that are essentially identical is grammar/syntax. Therefore either being born of God precedes doing righteousness, loving and believing OR doing righteousness, loving and believing precedes being born of God. If neither of those outcomes can be shown to be valid through analysis of the verses by themselves, then we would then look for other Scriptures to help us determine the truth. White made the claim that everyone pretty much agrees that being born of God precedes doing righteousness and loving and then, applying the rule of hermeneutics, he then inferred that being born of God precedes believing. You seem to be saying that White’s claim is false. OK. However, you need to show how White has erred and having shown that White has erred, you can then go to the rest of Scripture to demonstrate that the alternative, doing righteousness, loving and believing precedes being born of God.

        This is long enough so let’s stop here.

        Liked by 1 person

      6. brianwagner asks, “Did you follow my example of how the same unsafe reasoning is used to try to prove infant baptism as Scriptural using only inferences that are not necessary to the passages chosen for them?”

        The argument for infant baptism is not applicable here (from what I see). With regard to 1 John 2:29; 4:7, 5:1, we have three essentially identical verses in grammar/syntax and are discussing the application of a rule of heremeneutics to show that our understanding of the verses must be consistent. The issue of infant baptism does not turn on the understanding of grammar/syntax to resolve the issue. In my mind, we are discussing apples and you want to discuss oranges as if it helps our discussion of apples.

        Liked by 1 person

      7. Sorry, Roger that you are not able to follow my reasoning on this. Once again you said –
        “White made the claim that everyone pretty much agrees that being born of God precedes doing righteousness and loving and then, applying the rule of hermeneutics, he then inferred that being born of God precedes believing. You seem to be saying that White’s claim is false.” Yes, it is false! You have to know that those other two passages in 1John were also not given to teach that no righteousness and loving can happen before the new birth, for even you admitted that those two things can happen, just in a different form. Those two passages (2:29, 4:7) were ONLY given to recognize what is true after being born again, and that is the ONLY interpretation that can be shared with 5:1. It is a faulty hermeneutic that states unnecessary inferences can be made dogmatically when the local context does not support them with logical necessity.

        I think we both agree that no human righteous or love or belief earns us God’s righteousness. So when you asked me – “Do you really mean to argue that the works of the unregenerate should be considered the same as those of the regenerate?” I will have to answer yes, in the sense that both the unregenerate and the regenerate are obeying God’s truth, and both do not earn any of God’s righteousness from that obedience. And I think we can assume as true that the demons even continually believe that Jesus is the Christ! Their continued belief in that fact did not happen because of any new birth. You also did not respond to my resurrection example.

        We can also take as true that unsaved men can glorify God based on Jesus exhortation to His disciples – Matt 5:16 “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.”

        Your rejection of the plain reasoning from John 12 is seen in your question – “In John 12, we naturally find everyone to whom Jesus spoke deciding to walk in the light and putting their trust in that light, don’t we?” No, we don’t. Let’s look at the verses again.

        John 12:35 Then Jesus said to them, “A little while longer the light is with you. Walk while you have the light, lest darkness overtake you; he who walks in darkness does not know where he is going.
        John 12:36 “While you have the light, believe in the light, that you may become sons of light.” These things Jesus spoke, and departed, and was hidden from them.

        The light is “with” them, but Jesus exhortation to “walk while you have the light, lest darkness overtake you” is more naturally taken as saying they are not yet “deciding to walk in the light” or “putting their trust in that light” but are in danger of being overtaken by “darkness”, which indicates being lost forever, since they will be walking “in darkness” from that point.

        He then exhorts them to “Believe in the light, that you may become sons of light.” Again it is normal to take this as proving believing comes before becoming sons of light. No inference is necessary except the inference that becoming sons of light is the same as new birth. Comparison with John’s understanding from 1:4-12 shows that this is a reasonable inference that becoming sons of light equals being born again.

        Roger, you then show that you ignored my words from before when you said – “Your point, I think, is to show that a person can come to be a son of God by his own effort.” You should know by now that I do not believe that. By Him we live and move and have our being. And He enables us to breathe, think, and even choose between thoughts. But we cannot even make a choice for or against His mercy until He enlightens us. And as I have said, His granting of the new birth is not forced by our act of a believing choice. But it is forced by His own faithfulness to His own plan and promise to grant the new birth to those that receive Christ by faith.

        I say again – This passage (John 12:35-36) is from Jesus’ own words showing how light comes first, then belief, then new birth, that is, becoming “sons of light.” It presents Jesus’ warning not to reject the light. That warning would make no sense for the Calvinist “elect”, since they would not reject, nor for the Calvinist “reprobate” since they would not be able to “walk” while they have the light.

        Roger, you tenaciously undermine the normal reading of this passage in John 12 to hold onto an unnecessary inference that is trying to be made from another passage, 1John 5. This exactly how those who want to believe in infant baptism deal with Scriptures to uphold their view… they hold onto unnecessary inferences made from some passages and then undermine the normal reading of others.

        Liked by 1 person

      8. brianwagner writes, “Those two passages (2:29, 4:7) were ONLY given to recognize what is true after being born again, and that is the ONLY interpretation that can be shared with 5:1.”

        I understand you to say that doing righteousness, loving and believing in 2:29; 4;7; and 5:1 occur after being born of God. If that is the case, then you agree with White because that is the point on which he has been so dogmatic in responding to Pastor Flowers.

        Then, “It is a faulty hermeneutic that states unnecessary inferences can be made dogmatically when the local context does not support them with logical necessity.”

        I do not know what unnecessary inferences you have in mind that are being made dogmatically. As I have listened to White, I have found him being dogmatic only about the Greek text – basically stating that which you say above.

        Regarding the regeneration before faith issue, Calvinists define “born of God” as a regenerative action and “believing that Jesus is Christ” as faith so that the context of 5:1 puts regeneration before faith. The non-Calvinist need only state that he disagrees with these definitions.

        Liked by 1 person

      9. brianwagner writes, “He then exhorts them to “Believe in the light, that you may become sons of light.” Again it is normal to take this as proving believing comes before becoming sons of light. No inference is necessary except the inference that becoming sons of light is the same as new birth.”

        It proves nothing except that Christ exhorted people to believe in the light. Thus begins the battle between the Calvinist and Pelagian. The Calvinists say that no person could actually believe in the light without additional help from God (the Arminian modifies this to say that prevenient grace is required); the Pelagian says that every person had the ability to believe in the light without any more help (or grace) from God. All the Pelagian need do is explain how it is that some do believe while some do not – if some believe, why not all.

        Liked by 1 person

      10. “Believe” comes before “become” in the John 12 passage. That is obvious. Are you really denying that the verse says that, Roger?

        Liked by 1 person

      11. Not denying it. Had the person believed, we would have salvation by works.

        Would anyone in the John 12 audience believe by trusting the light? The Calvinists/Arminians say, No, because grace is necessary not to mention that God must also give people faith to believe. The Pelagians say, yes.

        Liked by 1 person

      12. Ok, so you are agreeing, Roger, that Jesus in John 12:36 is putting believing before becoming (γενησθε – should become, Aorist simple action) a son of light. Great! Do you agree that Jesus is addressing the command “believe in the light” to those that are having (εχετε – Present continuous action) the light?

        You asked – “Would anyone in the John 12 audience believe by trusting the light?” Your question seems irrational by the way it’s formed. You may have to clarify further, for I see believing and trusting as the same thing in this context, so the answer is “yes” to me for your question! A mental choice to believe, or to trust, continually in the light is what Jesus is calling the audience to do, and He is warning them that they only have a period of time to start that trusting, since darkness is threatening to come upon them. The light provided them is God’s gracious opportunity with its own enablement.

        Liked by 1 person

      13. brianwagner writes, “Ok, so you are agreeing, Roger, that Jesus in John 12:36 is putting believing before becoming (γενησθε – should become, Aorist simple action) a son of light. Great! Do you agree that Jesus is addressing the command “believe in the light” to those that are having (εχετε – Present continuous action) the light?”

        Jesus is doing what preachers do every day – telling people that they simply have to believe in Him to be saved.

        The, “You asked – “Would anyone in the John 12 audience believe by trusting the light?” Your question seems irrational by the way it’s formed. You may have to clarify further, for I see believing and trusting as the same thing in this context, so the answer is “yes” to me for your question! A mental choice to believe, or to trust, continually in the light is what Jesus is calling the audience to do, and He is warning them that they only have a period of time to start that trusting, since darkness is threatening to come upon them. The light provided them is God’s gracious opportunity with its own enablement.”

        Yep. But without God granting them faith, none will believe. Without the Holy Spirit convicting of sin, none will believe. Whet Jesus is revealing to us is the complete, total irrationality and depravity of those who reject Him and the control that sin has over the lost. All those who heard Jesus had seen the signs and miracles that He did – any rational person would have trusted the Light (Christ). Yet, we find that God must draw the person to Christ, give them faith, supernaturally convict them of their sin, and remove their hard heart before they will believe. Go figure!! There but by the grace of God go I.

        Liked by 1 person

      14. Roger, I am still confused… first you said “Yep” to my assessment that in this passage Jesus was talking about – “The light provided them is God’s gracious opportunity with its own enablement.”

        But then you said – “What Jesus is revealing to us is the complete, total irrationality and depravity of those who reject Him and the control that sin has over the lost.” From what phrases or words in these verses in John 12:35-36 are you getting those ideas. I hear Jesus pleading with them to trust in the light that they presently have, and if they do, they should become sons of light! The assumption is they are able to obey Jesus’ command, or He wouldn’t have commanded it!

        Like

      15. brianwagner writes, ” From what phrases or words in these verses in John 12:35-36 are you getting those ideas. I hear Jesus pleading with them to trust in the light that they presently have, and if they do, they should become sons of light! The assumption is they are able to obey Jesus’ command, or He wouldn’t have commanded it!”

        The audience to whom Jesus speaks consists of Jews who are probably typical in knowing the law and participating fully in the offering of sacrifices for sin. They have observed the signs and miracles performed by Jesus. Jesus has raised Lazarus and “…the Pharisees said to one another, “See, this is getting us nowhere. Look how the whole world has gone after him!” It is the Passover and Jesus will be crucified in a few days. We expect all those in the audience to submit to Christ as Lord. What do we find?

        37 Even after Jesus had done all these miraculous signs in their presence, they still would not believe in him.
        38 This was to fulfil the word of Isaiah the prophet: “Lord, who has believed our message and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?”
        39 For this reason they could not believe, because, as Isaiah says elsewhere:
        40 “He has blinded their eyes and deadened their hearts, so they can neither see with their eyes, nor understand with their hearts, nor turn–and I would heal them.”

        Can you explain what is happening?

        Like

      16. Thanks for the dialog, Roger! So you are not finding your views in the actual words of 12:35-36, but in the following verses. I do agree with you to this extent, that nationally Israel’s leaders were being hardened as instruments to bring about the crucifixion, and the darkness of that rejection was approaching and would influence negatively those in the crowd. He is now exhorting them to believe before that dark time comes. So the warning – “… lest darkness overtake you” – is part of the command in 12:35-36, showing that their will was still free to accept or reject.

        You said and asked – “It is the Passover and Jesus will be crucified in a few days. We expect all those in the audience to submit to Christ as Lord. What do we find?”

        Though I would not expect “all” to submit… here is what we find in this context –

        12:10-11 So the chief priests made plans to put Lazarus to death as well, because on account of him many of the Jews were going away and believing in Jesus.

        12:41 Nevertheless, many even of the authorities believed in him, but for fear of the Pharisees they did not confess it, so that they would not be put out of the synagogue;

        People were still receiving light, enabling them to believe, and many were! Praise His name!

        Like

      17. brianwagner writes, “People were still receiving light, enabling them to believe, and many were!”

        It appears that of those who received light and were presumably enabled to believe, some did believe and some did not. Given that all should have believed based on the miracles, there is still the question of those factors that differentiate the one believing from the one not believing. Somehow, one is able to believe while another is not. On the surface, they are the same – they are Jews and have witnessed the miracles of Jesus, especially the raising of Lazarus.

        You explain, “…nationally Israel’s leaders were being hardened as instruments to bring about the crucifixion, and the darkness of that rejection was approaching and would influence negatively those in the crowd.” Who is doing the hardening? It must be God.

        Pastor Flowers has proposed the hardening of God in his commentary on Romans 9, “The Potter’s Promise,” to explain why some are lost. You seem to be doing the same thing. It is an interesting take on salvation. Rather than attributing the plight of the reprobate to their own depravity as the Calvinist do, Flowers attributes it to God’s hardening. Rather than God choosing whom He will save as the Calvinists, Flowers has God choosing whom He will condemn. It is an interesting idea.

        Liked by 1 person

      18. Roger, It is not a “given” that all should believe because of the miracles. You have not proven that assumption with clear Scripture. But you continue to ignore the evidence I am providing in support of light and faith before new birth in John 12.

        And God does choose whom to save and whom to condemn, based upon His plan to give everyone enough light to seek and to find His salvation, but not irresistibly. He has spelled that out in this passage we are discussing.

        And He did use those who had rejected His light to be hardened and to become a tool in His plan to provide His salvation sacrifice.

        Like

      19. brianwagner writes, “…It is not a “given” that all should believe because of the miracles. You have not proven that assumption with clear Scripture.”

        Each person in Christ’s audience is equal – each needs light and to be enabled. If two people start out equal and are then enlightened and enabled, then both should make the same choice – either to accept or to reject. If not, then there is a distinguishing characteristic that separates the one who accepts from the one who rejects. I say the source of that difference is God (who chooses whom He will save by enlightening and enabling some sufficient to produce acceptance and not others). You have to appeal to some other factor. I don’t think you have one. Scripture points to God being the difference in John 6, “No one can come to Christ except the father draw him.” Here “draw” would include enlightenment and enabling.

        Then “God does choose whom to save and whom to condemn, based upon His plan to give everyone enough light to seek and to find His salvation, but not irresistibly.”

        If it is God who gives each person sufficient light to find salvation, then those who reject that light could not have been given “sufficient” light in the first place as rejection denies “sufficiency.” There is no way to explain how one accepts salvation and one rejects other than to say that God has favored one over the other. At least, you have yet to find a second viable explanation.

        I get the impression that you may not understand the concept of “irresistible.” Just to be sure, “irresistible” is not a coercive action. Right?

        Liked by 1 person

      20. Hi Roger – You still have not proven from Scripture that all should have believed because of the miracles. I did show you verses that many had believed because of the miracle of Lazarus and even many leaders in Israel had believed.

        Then you said – “Each person in Christ’s audience is equal – each needs light and to be enabled.” I agree with that equality. But then you say they are not equal in that there is “a distinguishing characteristic that separates the one who accepts from the one who rejects.” You believe that difference is God’s choice to give “irresistible” sufficiency to accept to some and not to others. I believe there are other differences but not that one.

        We have been down this road before. You define sufficiency as irresistible but not coercive. I define it as just sufficient and not coercive, but not irresistible. You have to have sufficiency as irresistible because everything is predetermined before creation in your view. I do not have to have it irresistible, because the Bible reads normally as God making free choices and allowing man to make free choices. I think we are no again at the same wall between us. 😦

        But the passage that we have been discussing (John 12) still obviously teaches that Jesus was exhorting His audience to use the light they presently have, to express faith in the light, and then they would after those actions “become” sons of light! Many were believing in the light in that context as I have pointed out. You want to bring to this context your Calvinistic thinking of some chosen to receive irresistible grace which you call the new birth. This passage gives no hint to that thinking. This passage clearly puts light and faith before birth as “sons”.

        So if that birth in this passage is the same as the new birth that Jesus talked about in chapter 3 and that John talked about in chapter 1, even if the new birth is an irresistible event, it comes after light and faith, which I believe are resistible as indicated by Christ’s warning here, but is being made available to all as indicated by Christ’s command here.

        Like

      21. brianwagner writes, “You still have not proven from Scripture that all should have believed because of the miracles. I did show you verses that many had believed because of the miracle of Lazarus and even many leaders in Israel had believed.”

        We agree that unsaved people are equal in needing light and to be enabled. If God enables one person such that the person believes when enlightened, then a second person so enabled by God should also believe when enlightened. There is no basis for a person not to believe other than that given in John 12 – God has blinded their eyes and deadened their hearts; God has not enabled them. As a matter of logic and free will, the miracles should have been sufficient. They were not. God must enable and then they must hear the gospel in order to be saved.

        Then you said – “Each person in Christ’s audience is equal – each needs light and to be enabled.” I agree with that equality. But then you say they are not equal in that there is “a distinguishing characteristic that separates the one who accepts from the one who rejects.” You believe that difference is God’s choice to give “irresistible” sufficiency to accept to some and not to others. I believe there are other differences but not that one.”

        The key point here is that there are differences between those who accept and those who reject. If God enables two people to respond to the light, those differences disappear and both accept – if not, God has retained those differences so that one will accept and one will reject,

        Then, “We have been down this road before. You define sufficiency as irresistible but not coercive. I define it as just sufficient and not coercive, but not irresistible.”

        Oh Brian!!! Sufficiency has nothing to do with irresistiblity. The normal dictionary meaning is sufficient. I still don’t think that you should be using the word, “sufficient,” in that which you are trying to say.

        Then, “But the passage that we have been discussing (John 12) still obviously teaches that Jesus was exhorting His audience to use the light they presently have, to express faith in the light, and then they would after those actions “become” sons of light! Many were believing in the light in that context as I have pointed out. You want to bring to this context your Calvinistic thinking of some chosen to receive irresistible grace which you call the new birth. This passage gives no hint to that thinking. This passage clearly puts light and faith before birth as “sons”.”

        Not exactly. When it speaks of those not believing, it says that God had blinded their eyes so that they would not believe. When it then says that some did believe, we should maintain context and conclude that God did not blind those who believed. However, of those who believed it says, “they loved praise from men more than praise from God.” That is troubling. In other Scriptures, people are described as disciples and believing yet easily turn away from Christ when He says something they don’t like. We agree that Christ exhorts His audience to believe – such belief comes only after God enabling them to believe. God’s enablement seems to be the only variable determining whether one believes and another does not believe.

        Finally, “So if that birth in this passage is the same as the new birth that Jesus talked about in chapter 3 and that John talked about in chapter 1, even if the new birth is an irresistible event, it comes after light and faith, which I believe are resistible as indicated by Christ’s warning here, but is being made available to all as indicated by Christ’s command here.’

        Certainly, we can observe a person responding to light – faith comes by hearing – in the person’s declaration of Christ as Lord. The unresolved issue is still to identify the extent of God’s involvement prior to the person responding to light.

        Liked by 1 person

      22. That’s the best I can do for you on this one, Roger. You are sufficiently enabled to accept my reasoning! 🙂 Thanks for the dialog on John 12:35-36 and context my friend!

        Like

      23. Always a pleasure. If there is a takeaway, it is that the term “sufficiently enabled” is a loaded term that should not be used carelessly. Second is that John 12 is a really interesting chapter.

        Just to note a rabbit trail – v6 has “Judas did not say this because he cared about the poor but because he was a thief; as keeper of the money bag, he used to help himself to what was put into it.”

        What was Judas doing with the money? Putting it into a Swiss bank account? Carousing w/ prostitutes? Buying expensive chariots? What does a thief do with the money he steals if he is following Jesus around all the time?

        Then, there is this, “So the chief priests made plans to kill Lazarus as well…” Just an incredible statement.

        Then, “The crowd that was there and heard it said it had thundered; others said an angel had spoken to him. Jesus said, “This voice was for your benefit, not mine.” So, the people are standing around scratching their heads being clueless about what had happened. Then Jesus says, “his voice was for your benefit.” Gee, all I heard was thunder.

        Liked by 1 person

      24. Interesting observation Roger… “for your benefit,” Jesus said. It was certainly sufficient for whatever benefit Jesus was talking about. My guess it was helping them to continue to seek.

        Liked by 1 person

  8. I said I was done, but I see to much open theism in Brian Wagner argumentation. Rutchin logic and reasoning from the scripture has in my opinion overwhelmed Brian. Brian accuses Rutchin of not carefully reading or ignoring what he wrote, while he continues
    to basically disregard almost entire portions of Rutchinspost all together. Something about John 12 that is not even teaching regeneration.

    He barely if mentions at all Rutchin post that I think sealed the deal and debate was over at RHUTCHIN
    APRIL 18, 2016 AT 6:54 PM

    But Brian will not interact with Rutchin post. He forgets this is a two-way street,

    Rutchin does set him straight on infant baptism, one of his favorite place to go: RHUTCHIN
    APRIL 18, 2016 AT 7:15 PM

    Brain thinks the unsaved love in the save manner as the saved,

    He thanks the every nation fears God and works righteousness (speaking of unbelieving sinners) is accepted by God. Misunderstanding

    I may throw my hat back into the ring, because everything Brian accuses Rutchin of he is twice guilty of and Rutchin just gives him th pure unadulterated word of God.

    Brian you owe it, no you obligated to back and interact responsibly and fully with Rutchin post at APRIL 18, 2016 AT 6:54 PM.

    Not discussing Rutchin, but engaging every part of his post, or is that “undue expectation” You seem to want that.

    I will you another week or so Brian to do damage control Dr, White hit this place hard.

    You know what Brian, “I’ll be your huckleberry…..I think we might have unfinished business, I will pray about it for a week or so.

    I am still addressing it all fervently on my site.

    Like

  9. Love it. I know you would never say this yourself, Leighton, because you’re so humble, but thank you for modeling a good contrast between a humble spirit like yours and a prideful spirit like Mr. White. I find irony that a man who claims to follow the “doctrines of Grace,” so-called, is so ungracious with how he handles his critics. By now, people should understand there is no ill intent when mistakes are made. Sometimes there’s just a misunderstanding. Keep up the good work, brother.

    Like

  10. There is not one single verse or passage in all of Scripture that asserts regeneration precedes faith. Not one. The reversal of biblical ordo salutis is a complete construction devised solely to prop up the other unbiblical doctrines of TULIP. Once you start with erroneous presuppositions like God dividing the pre-created world into two uncondtionally determined camps: saved and lost individuals, you end up with all this bad theology like regenerated unbelievers who must then believe and then be justified and then be regenerated again.

    Like

    1. Jeff D. writes, ” Once you start with erroneous presuppositions like God dividing the pre-created world into two uncondtionally determined camps: saved and lost individuals, you end up with all this bad theology like regenerated unbelievers who must then believe and then be justified and then be regenerated again.”

      What’s the real issue here? You have God dividing the pre-created world into two CONDITIONALLY determined camps: saved and lost individuals (presuming that you are not Open Theist). It sounds like you reject the idea of Total Depravity (a Pelagian stance); if so, why don’t you just say so.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. They aren’t divided conditionally in Calvinism. You should know that. Unconditional election. Are pre-born creatures predestined to hell have any works–positively or negatively—to commend or condemn them? No. God creates what is rightly called a caste system that fixes two groups of individuals into eternal destinies prior to creation. How is that just? How is that fair? What depravity have they committed when they aren’t even born?

        Like

      2. Jeff D. wrote,”They aren’t divided conditionally in Calvinism.”

        Correct. I took you to be non-Calvinist (or at least, not a Calvinist) and it is you who then would claim that God divided the pre-created world into two CONDITIONALLY determined camps: saved and lost individuals. As a Calvinist I say the division was UNCONDITIONAL.

        Then, “Are pre-born creatures predestined to hell have any works–positively or negatively—to commend or condemn them? No. God creates what is rightly called a caste system that fixes two groups of individuals into eternal destinies prior to creation. How is that just? How is that fair? What depravity have they committed when they aren’t even born?”

        That is what God does under both Calvinist and non-Calvinist systems. I get the impression that you are Open Theist given that you are asking the types of questions Open Theists use. Are you Open Theist?

        Liked by 1 person

      3. “In conformity, therefore, to the clear doctrine of the Scripture, we assert, that by an ETERNAL and IMMUTABLE counsel, God has ONCE FOR ALL DETERMINED, BOTH WHOM HE WOULD ADMIT TO SALVATION, AND WHOM HE WOULD CONDEMN TO DESTRUCTION. We affirm that this counsel, as far as concerns the elect, is founded on his gratuitous mercy, TOTALLY IRRESPECTIVE OF HUMAN MERIT; but that to those whom he devotes to condemnation, the gate of life is closed by a just and irreprehensible, but incomprehensible, judgment.”

        John Calvin, Institutes.

        Like

      4. So, you want to take another shot at an eternal, unconditional decree and how that relates to Total Depravity?

        Like

      5. Jeff D. writes, “So, you want to take another shot at an eternal, unconditional decree and how that relates to Total Depravity?”

        God decreed that Satan enter the garden and tempt Eve to eat the fruit whereupon Eve would then get Adam to eat. In Adam’s sin, the spiritual bond between Adam and God was broken and Adam became dead in sin. The corruption of Adam was spread to his children and by them to their children so that all subsequently born were dead in sin – Calvin called this the horrible decree. This being dead in sin is Total Depravity and it means that all are lost and without a savior, are condemned to eternal death.

        Liked by 1 person

      6. “That is what God does under both Calvinist and non-Calvinist systems”. Well, except that it isn’t what God does under non-Calvinist systems at all. There is no UNCONDITIONAL election to salvation under non-Calvinist systems, let alone one that takes place prior to creation. There is biblical election, but it is to service and not to salvation.

        Again, the doctrine of irresistible grace, or regeneration before faith, is an article devised with the Calvinist presupposition of such an unconditional eternal decree, “once for all determined”, that forever imprisons individuals into heaven or hell before there even is a created world, let alone a Fallen one.

        Like

      7. Jeff D. writes, “Well, except that it isn’t what God does under non-Calvinist systems at all. There is no UNCONDITIONAL election to salvation under non-Calvinist systems, let alone one that takes place prior to creation. There is biblical election, but it is to service and not to salvation.”

        When Paul says to the Thessalonians, “from the beginning God chose you to be saved through the sanctifying work of the Spirit and through belief in the truth,” he was speaking of salvation specifically, and service indirectly. That God elects people to service does not negate an election to salvation.

        Perhaps you meant to contrast individual election with corporate election?

        Then, “the doctrine of irresistible grace, or regeneration before faith, is an article devised with the Calvinist presupposition of such an unconditional eternal decree, “once for all determined”, that forever imprisons individuals into heaven or hell before there even is a created world, let alone a Fallen one.”

        Are you now denying that God is omniscient and saying that God did not know those who were to be saved and those who were to be lost before He even created the universe? Let me ask again: Are you Open Theist? You are using their arguments.

        Liked by 1 person

      8. When you assert that “God decreed that Satan enter the garden and tempt Eve to eat the fruit”, don’t you really mean to say, “God merely allowed Satan to willingly enter the garden and tempt Eve, who also was willingly allowed to eat the fruit?” Because if neither Satan, or Eve, nor Adam, nor any of us can do anything–desire, decision, act, etc.–any differently than what God has unconditionally and eternally decreed for any of his creatures to do, then we are merely puppets with NO moral responsibility. Can any of God’s creatures resist his eternal unconditional decree(s)? No. A puppet who can only dance the Puppeteer’s waltz can’t be blamed for not line dancing.

        Like

      9. Jeff D. writes, “When you assert that “God decreed that Satan enter the garden and tempt Eve to eat the fruit”, don’t you really mean to say, “God merely allowed Satan to willingly enter the garden and tempt Eve, who also was willingly allowed to eat the fruit?”

        God may be said to “allow” but not in any passive sense. Because God is sovereign, Satan cannot enter the garden nor tempt Eve, unless God issues an active, direct decree directing that Satan be free to enter the garden and tempt Eve. Satan can enter the garden and tempt Eve for no other purpose than to accomplish God’s plan and fulfill His will.

        Then, “Because if neither Satan, or Eve, nor Adam, nor any of us can do anything–desire, decision, act, etc.–any differently than what God has unconditionally and eternally decreed for any of his creatures to do, then we are merely puppets with NO moral responsibility. Can any of God’s creatures resist his eternal unconditional decree(s)? No. A puppet who can only dance the Puppeteer’s waltz can’t be blamed for not line dancing.”

        No creature can resist the will of its creator. It is God who grants His creation the freedom to act as they desire. God may choose to restrain the evil that people set out to do, so people are subordinate to God and His will and can only exercise the freedom God grants them within the confines of God’s will.

        Liked by 1 person

  11. “God decreed that Satan enter the garden and tempt Eve to eat the fruit whereupon Eve would then get Adam to eat.” Really? Where is that in the text? God decreed Satan do this? So God decreed/determined/ordained that Satan tempt Eve? Did God ordain Eve to be seduced? Did God ordain Adam to also eat the fruit? What does this say of God’s responsibility? Could Satan have acted differently? How about Eve, or Adam, or any of us? Did God decree every single sin that occurs on earth?

    Like

    1. I wrote, “God decreed that Satan enter the garden and tempt Eve to eat the fruit whereupon Eve would then get Adam to eat.”

      Jeff D. responded, “Really? Where is that in the text? God decreed Satan do this? So God decreed/determined/ordained that Satan tempt Eve? Did God ordain Eve to be seduced? Did God ordain Adam to also eat the fruit? What does this say of God’s responsibility? Could Satan have acted differently? How about Eve, or Adam, or any of us? Did God decree every single sin that occurs on earth?”

      Do you now mean to deny that God is omnipresent? Was not God present when Satan entered the garden? Was not God present watching as Satan tempted Eve and then as she ate? Was not God there watching when Eve offered the fruit to Adam and he ate? Surely, God is sovereign and it was His decision whether to stop Eve and Adam from eating the fruit or let them continue in their sin. God made a decision – God decided that He would not interfere (the decision was made in eternity past).

      What do you see as being God’s responsibility in the events of the garden? What do you see as God’s responsibility as He watches the sins of people – even the vilest sins that take place? God observes every sin that is done by every person; God decrees each one of those sins; if not then He decrees that they be stopped and He stops them.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Jeff D.
    April 30, 2016 at 3:45 pm

    “In conformity, therefore, to the clear doctrine of the Scripture, we assert, that by an ETERNAL and IMMUTABLE counsel, God has ONCE FOR ALL DETERMINED, BOTH WHOM HE WOULD ADMIT TO SALVATION, AND WHOM HE WOULD CONDEMN TO DESTRUCTION. We affirm that this counsel, as far as concerns the elect, is founded on his gratuitous mercy, TOTALLY IRRESPECTIVE OF HUMAN MERIT; but that to those whom he devotes to condemnation, the gate of life is closed by a just and irreprehensible, but incomprehensible, judgment.”

    John Calvin, Institutes.

    That isn’t a good and loving God! That describes an arbitrary and capricious monster! Is this what John Calvin really taught? If so, how can anyone believe it? Gratuitous Mercy? Where is the mercy for those who are condemned? No choice. No opportunity. No nothing. God created solely for the purpose of damnation? Is that what the Bible teaches? Call God anything, but don’t call Him good. Seriously. I am horrified; do the folks who are embracing this viewpoint truly understand what they are advocating?

    It’s one thing if a man rejects God, rejects Christ, rejects Scripture, and shakes his fist and curses the Lord and Savior, God and Creator of the Universe. That’s one thing. I get that God is holy. I get that God is just. And honestly, if I believed that is what Scripture teaches (i.e., the quote from John Calvin), I would be an ardent, hard-core, unapologetic atheist! I would “convert to atheism” this very moment. Are educated, intelligent pastors and scholars really taking this view? And teaching their congregations these things?

    Like

Leave a Reply

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

WordPress.com Logo

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

Twitter picture

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

Facebook photo

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

Google+ photo

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

Connecting to %s