Regeneration: When Does New Life Begin?

Regeneration: When Does New Life Begin?

by Ron F. Hale

(Reblogged from SBC Today)

Viewpoints on the doctrine of regeneration collide and clash in the evangelical blogosphere. Is the sinner regenerated prior to faith or subsequently? It boils down to the question of “when?”

Reformed theologian Dr. R.C. Sproul shares his personal experience: “One of the most dramatic moments in my life for the shaping of my theology took place in a seminary classroom. One of my professors went to the blackboard and wrote these words in bold letters: ‘Regeneration Precedes Faith.’”[1]

With polarizing gravitas, Sproul declares, “If we believe that faith precedes regeneration, then we set our thinking and therefore ourselves in direct opposition not only to giants of Christian history but also to the teaching of Paul and of our Lord Himself.”[2]

In stark contrast, my dramatic moment came a decade ago when realizing that many New Calvinists in the SBC teach that a sinner is regenerated or “born-again” in order to believe. To say it another way, the sinner believes because he or she has been born-again (regenerated).

All of my SBC teaching and training had taught me that the regenerating work of God happens “as” or “after” a sinner (under conviction by the Holy Spirit) responds to the Gospel through repentance and faith. In other words, the sinner believes in Jesus and eternal life is imparted by the supernatural work of the Holy Spirit. The person becomes a new creation (2 Cor. 5:17), and partakes of a new nature (2 Pet. 1:4).

Consequently, if you believe a sinner is dead as a corpse (totally depraved and unable to freely respond to God) and faith is a gift given to particular ones (the elect), and only those individuals sovereignly and unconditionally elected before the foundation of the world will be irresistibly drawn to Christ – then it is highly likely you believe that regeneration precedes faith.

Dr. Kendell Easley wrote a book entitled 52 Words Every Christian Should Know (2006). Easley sides with Sproul on the matter of regeneration preceding faith. He defines the word in this manner:

Regeneration or being born again refers to God’s act of making a person alive spiritually. This is the supernatural work of the Holy Spirit by which sinners are given new spiritual life enabling them to relate to God in faith, love, obedience, and delight.”[3]

Easley makes his position clearer as he says, “Is faith the basis upon which the Spirit regenerates or is faith the fruit of regeneration? The biblical language, emphasizing regeneration as moving from death to life as sovereignly worked by the Spirit, appears to favor the later view and understands faith itself as a gift from God.[4] John Frame would agree with Sproul and Easley as he states, “The Spirit regenerates us, producing faith.”[5]

Conversely, Dr. Kenneth Keathley, senior associate dean at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, makes the case for faith preceding the new birth (regeneration) and lays out three strong biblical arguments, they are:

First, the many appeals in the Bible calling sinners to respond to the gospel imply that conversion results in regeneration. The Scriptures are presented as the seed the Spirit of God uses to bring about new life (I Pet. 1:23; James 1:18,21; I John 3:9). That the Word of God is the Spirit’s instrumental means indicates that faith leads to regeneration.[6]

Second, the Bible presents conversion as the condition to salvation, not the result of being saved (John 1:12; 3:16,18,24,36,40; Acts 13:39; Rom. 3:22, 26; 4:3,5; 5:1). The apostles repeatedly promise their hearers that, if they will repent and believe, then they will be saved (Acts 2:38; 16:30-31). The Apostle John put special emphasis on the necessity of the new birth, but he presented faith as the condition to becoming a child of God (John 1:12-13) and to receiving eternal life (“By believing you may have life in his name,” John 20:31).[7]

Third, Keathley uses a point made by Dr. Norman Geisler … that if regeneration is prior to conversion, then salvation is no longer by faith. If one is already regenerated before he believes, then faith is not a condition to salvation but the evidence of having been saved. However, sola fide is the testimony of Scripture (Rom. 10:9-10).[8]

Geisler’s point is well taken – a “born again unbeliever” is difficult to imagine even if the time span is infinitesimally small. Charles C. Ryrie has asked, “… for it may as well be argued that if a sinner has new life through regeneration, why does he need to believe?”[9]

Dr. Gary L. Nebeker questions the view of faith being given as a gift to some: “The concept of infused faith for salvation bears a marked resemblance to the sacramentalism of the Roman Catholic Church. That is to say, faith becomes a transmitted and efficacious element, which God gives to men for salvation. Again, it must be emphasized that faith is not a substance, but a human response prompted by the Holy Spirit.”[10]

Could it be that Reformed divines fought so hard in guarding Church orthodoxy against pelagianism (and semi-pelagianism)[11] and for salvation being purely and solely of God that they missed the living reality that God looks for a free and loving response of faith as the Holy Spirit draws the sinner through the Gospel?

In Luke 7, the “sinful” woman drenches the feet of Jesus with her tears, dries them with her hair, and anoints His feet with expensive perfume. Meanwhile, the Pharisee is nauseated by this nonsense. Finally, Jesus says to her, “Your sins are forgiven.” How? Why? When? What for?

Jesus said to her, “Your faith has saved you. Go in peace.”

The Bible is null and void of teaching that saving faith is a special gift of God to a privileged and particular few. The Gospel is the power of God unto salvation (to whosoever), and as the sinner hears the Word of Truth, he or she is born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God (I Pet. 1:23).

©Ron F. Hale, January 5, 2014

[1] http://www.monergism.com/thethreshold/articles/onsite/sproul01.html
[2] Ibid.
[3] Kendell Easley, 52 Words Every Christian Should Know, (Nashville, Holman Reference, 2006), 86.
[4] Ibid. 87.
[5] http://www.reformationtheology.com/2005/12/an_interview_with_john_frame_b_1.php
[6] Kenneth Keathley, “The Work of God: Salvation,” in A Theology for the Church, ed. Daniel L. Akin (Nashville: B & H Academic, 2007), 743. Also, Dr. Keathley believes that conversion is made up of two distinguishable yet inseparable parts: repentance and faith, 728.
[7] Ibid. 743.
[8] Ibid.743.
[9] Basic Theology, (Wheaton: Victor, 1986; reprint ,Chicago: Moody, 1999), 326.
[10] http://www.faithalone.org/magazine/y1989/89july1.html
[11] http://baptisttheologians.blogspot.com/2012/06/semi-pelagianism-plea-for-clarity-and.html

157 thoughts on “Regeneration: When Does New Life Begin?

  1. Very good article Ron Hale!

    Like John 1:4-13 teaches the order of light then faith then birth, Jesus clearly taught the same thing in 12:35-36 …So Jesus said to them, “The light is among you for a little while longer. Walk while you have the light, lest darkness overtake you. The one who walks in the darkness does not know where he is going. 36While you have the light, believe in the light, that you may become sons of light.”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. brianwagner writes, “Jesus clearly taught the same thing in 12:35-36 …So Jesus said to them, “The light is among you for a little while longer….”

      Jesus makes this comment in response to the multitude who didn’t seem to grasp His teaching about His death. Immediately following, we read, “…though He had performed so many signs before them, yet they were not believing in Him;…” So, do you see Jesus referring to Himself as the “light.” Thus, consistent with John 9, “While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” If so, isn’t this a different context than that which you advocate in John 1 (negating your statement, “Jesus clearly taught the same thing in 12:35-36”?

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  2. Regeration is the PROCESS by which God, the Holy Spirit, uses the Gospel to draw Christ’s sheep to Him, gives them the faith to believe in their Shepherd/Savior and culminates in an outward conversion. Conversion is the apparent evidence of a true saving faith that perseveres eternally.
    We have absolutely no idea how long this regenerative process lasts since it’s a spiritual work that only God Himself wroughts. But what’s clear is that faith is a fruit of God’s act of giving us a new heart and conversion is an outworking of this supernatural faith.
    Also, God has written the Bible in such a manner as to allow men to believe a lie. He has written the Bible in such a way that requires the HARMONIZATION of His Word. Those who are attempting to utilize Holy Writ to prove their own ideology, God has written His Word in such a way as to seal them in their false ideology. But Christ’s sheep hear His voice and His voice leads to regeneration and eternal life.
    But in order for regeneration to occur, the HS must apply the Gospel to the hearts of the reprobate because, otherwise, the Gospel is “foolishness to those who are perishing” and they will NEVER believe unto salvation.

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  3. What sayeth the Institutes?

    “Having been regenerated (made alive together with Christ), Abraham believed God and it was credited to him as righteousness.”

    Only the Bible doesn’t read that way.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Question for you Phillip..Romans 10:17 says, “So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.”
      ‭‭Question: Is the “hearing” in this verse referring to physical or spiritual “hearing”? If it’s referring to physical hearing, then how do the deaf become saved? If it refers to spiritual hearing, then faith is a CONSEQUENCE and NOT a CAUSE!
      This is why Jesus repeats “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.” He’s not referring to physical ears (hearing), but spiritual ears (hearing). We know, from harmonizing Scripture, that only true believers have “ears to hear”.
      All this is to say that faith is the result/consequence/fruit of a supernatural understanding of the Gospel message; for only those who have “ears to hear” can understand an otherwise “foolish” message!
      ‭‭

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    2. phillip writes, ““Having been regenerated (made alive together with Christ), Abraham believed God and it was credited to him as righteousness.”
      Only the Bible doesn’t read that way.”

      If we incorporate Romans 8, we get, “…the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so; because Abraham was in the flesh he could not please God, but Abraham believed God anyway and it was credited to him as righteousness.” This makes no sense at all. Yet, this is what you would seem to have the Bible to say if not Troy’s version of events.

      Following Ephesians 2, could we have, “even when Abraham was dead in his transgressions, God made Abraham alive and then Abraham believed God and it was credited to him as righteousness.”

      Following Colossians 2, we could have, “Abraham was dead in his transgressions and the uncircumcision of his flesh, God made Abraham alive, having forgiven Abraham all his transgressions, and then Abraham believed God and it was credited to him as righteousness.”

      What do you have the Bible saying about Abraham’s condition before he believed God?

      Then, when it says that Abraham believed God, do you think Abraham first believed God and then acted in faith or did Abraham first act in faith and then believe God? Romans 4 has, “…to the one who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is reckoned as righteousness,…” This seems to say that it is the one who believes whose faith is credited as righteousness.

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  4. My question digesting the debate with theology student Matt Slick and autodidact Jesse…When does regeneration happen in Theology class. When you submit to Calvinism the first semester or a later year ? Is submission of intellect really the same as regeneration ? What percentage of DD reform submitters are regenerate ? we won’t know of course this side of the grave. seems a safe bet it there will be some slippage.

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  5. Mark: 10 17-27 (the rich young ruler)
    There came one running, kneeled and asked Good Master, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?
    Jesus said unto him…you know the commandments, Do not commit adultery, kill, steal, bear false witness, Defraud, and honor father and mother.

    But the young man answered: Master, all these have I observed from my youth.

    Jesus beholding him loved him, and said: One thing thou lack – go sell all you have, give to the poor, and you shall have treasure in heaven: then come, take up the cross, and follow me.

    But the young man went away grieved for he had great possessions.

    And Jesus declared: How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God!
    ———————————————————————————————————————————————————
    If the rich young ruler had asked this question of a Calvinist, he would not have been given Jesus’ answer.

    Conclusion: Either Jesus’ answer is lacking in truth, or the Calvinist answer is lacking in truth.
    As for me and my house, we will follow Jesus’s answer. :-]

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Jesus loved him, even though he rejected Jesus’ call to follow! How beautiful! It spurs me to try to love those who reject the truth we call them to on this blog! 🙂

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      1. God loves His creation; just not in a salvific sense. Also, who’s to say that he didn’t EVENTUALLY become saved?

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      1. The Calvinist answer is twofold:
        1) If god in eternity past decrees it then you can’t resist it.
        2) If god in eternity past doesn’t decree it, then go has made you “LOT” not to have it, and you will be punished for that!

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  6. Brothers Troy/Rhutchin,

    I’ll address you both.

    Romans 8:8, Ephesians 2:4-5, and Colossians 2:13-14, have all been biblically, and exegetically, explained in context by many commenters on this site so I see no reason to regurgitate it again here.

    Ironically, you both, in your own way, are prime examples of what occurred with the majority of Israel. All the verses above have been explained to you biblically, exegetically, and in context. You have been shown over and over that regeneration does NOT precede faith. Did you accept our words? No! Why not? Did God prevent you from understanding the light given? No! But just like most of the Israelites, you hardened your own hearts (at least so far). There are even some Calvinists that reject this teaching!

    What do you both think the difference is between you (Troy/Rhutchin) and Leighton/FromOverHere? They were both Calvinists and yet they were (guess what?) “willing” to accept another possible interpretation.

    You both could do the same. But you have to be willing.

    He who has ears to hear, let him hear.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well said Phillip! –
      You enunciated it right out of scriptures perspective and followed the language model of scripture!!!!

      This topic is highlighting the contrast between the language of scripture and the language of Calvinism.
      And language is the outward expression/manifestation of human thought.

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      1. Ok brother br.d I’ll give you same questions I gave Phillip which requires an understanding of language..
        Question: Does “hearing” refer to physical or spiritual hearing? If it’s speaking of physical hearing, then how can the deaf exercise faith unto salvation. If it’s spiritual hearing, then faith is a fruit of spiritual hearing/understanding and we know from other scriptures that natural man (unsaved man) can’t have spiritual hearing (1 Cor. 2:14).
        So we can paraphrase Romans 10:17 to say, “So [saving] faith comes from [spiritual] hearing, and [spiritual] hearing by the word of Christ.” Salvation is of the Lord!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Hi Troy,
        On 1 Cor. 2:14 we have the words ψυχικὸς δὲ ἄνθρωπος “the faculty of anthropos” and from the context of the whole verse, I would read that as “the natural faculty of man WITHOUT ANY INPUT FROM THE SPIRIT”.
        1) No orthodox Christian would argue that man by natural faculties WITHOUT THE SPIRIT can comprehend the things of the spirit.
        2) If you are suggesting that the influence of the Holy Spirit “MUST” be that of regeneration, in order for a person to receive communication from the Holy Spirit, you are going beyond what this text says, imposing a philosophical supposition on it.

        And on Romans 10:17 we basically have the same underlying understanding.

        Your view is founded on the presupposition that the process of regeneration “MUST” precede the process of communication.
        In other words, if god speaks to an unregenerate person, that person cannot understand what God is saying.
        If that is true then you have massive accounts in the scripture in which Jesus is speaking to someone who doesn’t understand what he is saying, but where Jesus treats that person AS-IF he does understand what Jesus is saying.

        Take the roman solder whose son Jesus healed for example. Does the text say that god had to regenerate that solder before he could understand the words Jesus spoke to him in order to understand his son was healed?

        People can find verses in the bible to affirm just about anything.
        Can you find any specific verses that specifically state that God must regenerate a person before he can communicate to that person?

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      1. You write… “If it’s spiritual hearing, then faith is a fruit of spiritual hearing/understanding and we know from other scriptures that natural man (unsaved man) can’t have spiritual hearing (1 Cor. 2:14).”

        And there you go again. 1 Corinthians 2:14 has also been biblically, and exegetically, explained in context and yet you continue to reject our words. Why?

        Mark 12:32-34 (NKJV)…..
        So the scribe said to Him, “Well said, Teacher. You have spoken the truth, for there is one God, and there is no other but He. And to love Him with all the heart, with all the understanding, with all the soul, and with all the strength, and to love one’s neighbor as oneself, is more than all the whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.” Now when Jesus saw that he answered wisely, He said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.”

        Oops. So much for the unregenerate not being able to understand “spiritual” things. And the law is spiritual (Romans 7:14).

        He who has ears to hear, let him hear.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. phillip writes, “Oops. So much for the unregenerate not being able to understand “spiritual” things. And the law is spiritual (Romans 7:14).”

        Let’s not forget the two problems Paul identified with the Jew–

        1. “…I bear [the Jews] witness that they have a zeal for God, but not in accordance with knowledge. For not knowing about God’s righteousness, and seeking to establish their own, they did not subject themselves to the righteousness of God.”

        2. “…Jews ask for signs,…but we preach Christ crucified, to Jews a stumbling block,…” (1 Corinthians 1)

        So, Jesus is correct – the Jews understand the Scriptures as they relate to God (even the atheists understand these things) but for them to bend the knee to Christ will require God’s grace. No one is far from the kingdom of God and Jesus spoke to this in John 3 where He explained that the Holy Spirit must get involved for one to enter the kingdom of God.

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      3. I find it hilarious that a Calvinist will say “Amen” when another Calvinist says “X is true”
        But when a non Calvinist says “X is true” that same Calvinist will argue “X is false”

        Calvinists taking themselves so seriously is good entertainment!! 😀

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      4. Phillip did you really just attempt to compare the context of Mark 12 to that of 1 Cor 2?? Come on brother!! You have to know better than that!! You can’t equate Jesus’ conversation with a Jewish Rabbi to the context of 1 Cor 2. Understanding the law doesn’t fulfill the teaching of 1 Cor 2:14. Having mere knowledge of the Bible is not enough for salvation. Remember even the demons know what that Jewish teacher knew. The spiritual understanding is supernatural in 1 Cor 2.

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    2. phillip writes, “Romans 8:8, Ephesians 2:4-5, and Colossians 2:13-14, have all been biblically, and exegetically, explained in context by many commenters on this site so I see no reason to regurgitate it again here.”

      We want to know the position you take (it’s all right to agree with other commenters). How do you see the order here: being made alive followed by believing or believing followed by being made alive.

      Then, ” You have been shown over and over that regeneration does NOT precede faith. Did you accept our words?”

      I don’t think this has actually been done. A lot of opinions get expressed but exegetical proof is rare. However, if it has been done, maybe you could provide a quick summation regarding Romans 8, Ephesians 2 and Colossians 2 (or a citation that we could read) that explains how these relate to believing.

      Then, “What do you both think the difference is between you (Troy/Rhutchin) and Leighton/FromOverHere? ”

      Dr. Flowers seems to be all over the place on this. At one point, he seems to say that all people are able to respond to the gospel (thereby denying TD) and elsewhere he seems to agree that faith is necessary to ability (thereby affirming TD). I am listening to more of his podcasts and I am amazed that he was ever a Calvinist given some of the things he says about those days. I never figured out what FromOverHere believes. He questions everything Calvinism says but never really seemed to offer a viable alternative (but he had opinions). So, the difference seems to be that Troy and I can explain what we believe and why and LF and DOH cannot explain what they believe (at least, not very well).

      Then, “You both could do the same. But you have to be willing.”

      When non-Calvinists start providing sound exegetical positions, anything could happen. Usually, we get monstrosities like “Chosen But Free,” by Geisler. The only person who seems to be able to articulate a position against Calvinism is Brian Wagner.

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      1. Rhutchin,

        Regarding the scriptural support rebuking “regeneration precedes faith” you wrote…

        “I don’t think this has actually been done.”

        Of course you don’t. But why?

        “Some (Leighton/FOH) were convinced by what he said, but others (Troy/Rhutchin) would not believe.”

        Free will, brother.

        You ask… “How do you see the order here: being made alive followed by believing or believing followed by being made alive?”

        Just a gentle reminder, but you previously wrote…

        “Let’s make it, ‘Made alive together with Christ’ and ‘Look/believe’ and ‘live’. That agrees with Scripture, doesn’t it?”

        Alive (but not living)…..Look…..Live.

        Respectfully, I hope you can see just how ludicrous that reads.

        How I understand scripture (put in simple terms) its….

        Faith (thru grace; not works)….justification (acquitted/pardoned/found not guilty via the blood of Christ)…..regeneration (made alive together with Christ via the new birth).

        He who has ears to hear, let him hear.

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  7. Troy writes….. “If it’s spiritual hearing, then faith is a fruit of spiritual hearing/understanding and we know from other scriptures that *natural man (unsaved man) can’t have spiritual hearing* (1 Cor. 2:14).”

    And yet (again)…..

    John 8:3-9 (NKJV)…..
    Then the scribes and Pharisees brought to Him a woman caught in adultery. And when they had set her in the midst, they said to Him, “Teacher, this woman was caught in adultery, in the very act. Now Moses, in the law, commanded us that such should be stoned. But what do You say?” This they said, testing Him, that they might have something of which to accuse Him. But Jesus stooped down and wrote on the ground with His finger, as though He did not hear. So when they continued asking Him, He raised Himself up and said to them, “He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first.” And again He stooped down and wrote on the ground. Then *those who heard it, being convicted by their conscience*, went out one by one, beginning with the oldest even to the last.

    Strange response for a bunch of unregenerate sinners who, according to Calvinism, are completely unable to hear, much less understand, spiritual things.

    He who has ears to hear, let him hear.

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    1. phillip writes, “Strange response for a bunch of unregenerate sinners who, according to Calvinism, are completely unable to hear, much less understand, spiritual things.”

      Good example of physical hearing – these guys had been to seminary – but an obvious deficiency of spiritual hearing else they would not have asked Jesus if they should stone her.

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      1. Rhutchin writes… “Good example of physical hearing – these guys had been to seminary – but an obvious deficiency of spiritual hearing else they would not have asked Jesus if they should stone her.”

        Then why didn’t they go ahead and stone her, which the law required, instead of walking away?

        He who has ears to hear, let him hear.

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      2. Great discussion Phillip! I like pointing to Mark 7:14 where Jesus calls everyone to “hear and understand.” Of course Calvinists say this is a universal call, that God knows only the elect will hear and understand… but to me that makes Jesus out to be a monster… Was there ever a lame man that Jesus said “get up” to and he wasn’t then able to get up?

        I also like pointing to Hebrews 3:7-8 where the warning – Today if you hear His voice harden not you heart – cannot fit the Calvinist elect for they cannot harden once they hear, and the warning would be deceptive since they would never perish. This warning cannot fit the Calvinist reprobate either, for they cannot hear, and the warning would be deceptive for them also, giving the impression that God doesn’t want them to perish!

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      3. brianwagner writes, ” Of course Calvinists say this is a universal call, that God knows only the elect will hear and understand… ”

        I think the proper response would be, that of the disciples, “Jesus was saying, ‘He who has ears to hear, let him hear.’ And as soon as He was alone, His followers, along with the twelve, began asking Him about the parables.” (Mark 4) Isn’t that what we do with Scripture – “Lord, help me understand.” It’s not that the elect hear and understand; the elect know to ask God to explain it to them. So, it’s only a universal call in revealing to all that they cannot understand the Scriptures on their own.

        Then, “Was there ever a lame man that Jesus said “get up” to and he wasn’t then able to get up?”

        Even Lazarus had to get up and walk. When Jesus says, “Jump,” people jump. Physical healing is not salvation.

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      4. Exactly… and hearing and understanding aren’t salvation either… they just graciously lead to salvation, but not irresistibly… just like miracles didn’t automatically give salvation to the one receiving the miracle… but it did give the gracious opportunity to believe in Jesus!

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      5. brianwagner writes, “they just graciously lead to salvation, but not irresistibly… ”

        The irresistible part is their conveyance to the person by God. Once conveyed, things happen. Things conveyed irresistibly would be faith, the opening of one’s heart like Lydia, the new birth, a new heart, conviction of sin, etc.

        Then, “it did give the gracious opportunity to believe in Jesus!”

        An opportunity that proves irresistible.

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      6. Brian wrote, “Exactly… and hearing and understanding aren’t salvation either… they just graciously lead to salvation, but not irresistibly..” This is faulty rationalization on your part Brian. The “hearing” and “understanding” that the Bible is speaking of is, in fact, irresistible because it REQUIRES a supernatural work of God in order to be accomplished. Not only do both the “hearing” and “understanding” lead to salvation, they’re a necessary part of the process of regeneration that’s inherent within God’s supernatural drawing spoken of in John 6. So your statement sir is fallacious on the grounds of your false assumption that salvation doesn’t require supernatural “ears”, “hearing”, or “understanding”. In fact, without it, the Gospel is only foolishness. Remember, true faith comes by hearing, but that hearing must be supernatural/spiritual, or else all (without exception) who physically hear the gospel will have saving faith. The second part of Romans 10:17 reveals that the source of this supernatural hearing is the supernatural application of the Word of God to our hearts.

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      7. Jesus wasn’t lying when He told everyone in the crowd to “hear and understand.” Mark 7:14. Of course Calvinism must have Jesus being confused, having forgotten God’s secret will that keeps everyone from being able to hear and understand when God tells them to!

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      8. Brian when Christ says, “let him that have ears to hear..” the obvious inference from that statement is that not all have ears to hear. Mark 8:18 demonstrates that one must have spiritual ears to perceive spiritual truth!
        I really can’t believe you’re using Mark 7:14 to prove your point. Jesus is simply call the crowd to listen to His words. But this is not to say that the crowd all had “ears to hear”.

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      9. Calvinists bring their theology to a simple phrase that just means listen carefully and seek to understand! “He that has ears to hear, let him hear” is not a call to an eternally immutably pre-selected specially loved group… though every Calvinist somehow knows they are in that group and everyone who denies Calvinism somehow are not! 😉 Remember… no one is in the beloved group of elect until they are in Christ. Before that, they are not beloved! Rom 9:25

        Jesus would not need to say such words if indeed there was such a group. Think about it, if you have ears to hear! 😉

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      10. Brian wrote, “Remember… no one is in the beloved group of elect until they are in Christ. Before that, they are not beloved! Rom 9:25” Yes it’s true that, in time, we are not apart of “the beloved” until regenerated. However, from an eternal perspective and in principle, we were apart of “the beloved” before creation (Eph 1:4).
        Also Romans 9:25 is talking about the Gentiles becoming apart of “the beloved” in contradistinction to the Jews. Context! Context! Context!

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      11. You were not beloved, Troy. I would not call God a liar and declare that He always immutably loved you, when he said clearly you were not beloved until you were in Christ.

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      12. brianwagner writes, “no one is in the beloved group of elect until they are in Christ. Before that, they are not beloved! Rom 9:25”

        Romans 9:25 refers to something entirely different.

        Romans 9
        22 What if God, choosing to show his wrath and make his power known, bore with great patience the objects of his wrath–prepared for destruction?
        23 What if he did this to make the riches of his glory known to the objects of his mercy, whom he prepared in advance for glory–
        24 even us, whom he also called, not only from the Jews but also from the Gentiles?
        25 As he says in Hosea: “I will call them ‘my people’ who are not my people; and I will call her ‘my loved one’ who is not my loved one,”
        26 and, “It will happen that in the very place where it was said to them, ‘You are not my people,’ they will be called ‘sons of the living God’.”

        v25 explains v24, “not only from the Jews but also from the Gentiles.” The quote from Isaiah foretells the salvation of the Gentile which was always God’s plan (also Ephesians 3) – thus the intro, “As he says in Hosea…” In Hosea, God is speaking of the eventual salvation of the Gentiles. It says nothing about being in Christ or being in Christ as a condition for being called the elect. The use of “beloved,” (or loved one) refers to the Gentiles not being saved at that time but to their eventual salvation.

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      13. Either “beloved” means the so-called “elect” or it means the so-called “reprobate”. I don’t think Calvinists want it to mean so-called “reprobate”. But whomever it means… they were not eternally immutably “beloved.”

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      14. “just as He chose us in Him BEFORE the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. In love” -Ephesians‬ ‭1:4‬ ‭

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      15. brianwagner writes, “Either “beloved” means the so-called “elect” or it means the so-called “reprobate”….But whomever it means… they were not eternally immutably “beloved.”

        Romans has, “I will call them my people, which were not my people; and her beloved, which was not beloved.” This is a prophecy. It foretells the salvation of the gentiles who in the day of Isaiah were not being saved, but after Christ, God would begin drawing them to salvation. That God was going to do this was certain. The most you can argue is that God really didn’t know the individual gentiles whom He would save. Of course, if God wanted to know, He need only ask Himself.

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      16. Sleep on it… the logic is sound… and you were evidently in recognition of it, Roger… that individuals who were not beloved/elect were now declared to be beloved/elect… not eternally immutably known as beloved/elect which would be God contradicting Himself!

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      17. brianwagner writes, “Jesus wasn’t lying when He told everyone in the crowd to “hear and understand.” Mark 7:14.”

        In context we have,

        14 And after He called the multitude to Him again, He began saying to them, “Listen to Me, all of you, and understand:
        15 there is nothing outside the man which going into him can defile him; but the things which proceed out of the man are what defile the man.
        16 [“If any man has ears to hear, let him hear.”]
        17 And when leaving the multitude, He had entered the house, His disciples questioned Him about the parable.

        So, the proper response is that of the disciples who admit that they do not understand and ask Jesus to explain what He meant. Apparently, Jesus told a parable that would not be understood by all – at least not by His disciples. So, maybe the Calvinists are onto something here.

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      18. Roger… I will concede that the call to hear and understand in Mark 7:14 may end with not understanding what was heard… but there was enough understanding to know they better ask the source they heard for more information. That is a freewill choice. The other option is to harden and say, I don’t understand but I’m not going to humble myself and ask for more information.

        But if the person I heard told EVERYONE to hear and understand… it is a logical conclusion that it is possible for EVERYONE to gain understanding the speaker wants them to have somehow. That is like me saying to you – Fly to California… but you are a native in the Amazon and never saw an airplane… You would have to ask me how you would be able to do that, but if you trusted me, you would assume that I would not ask you to do something if there was no real way to do it! We build the airstrip, the plane lands, and I tell you to get on!

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      19. Brian wrote, “it is a logical conclusion that it is possible for EVERYONE to gain understanding the speaker wants them to have somehow.” This is humanistic theology. It’s God’s prerogative to give a commandment that He knows can’t be obeyed. It’s not up to us to comprehend all of God’s decretal will. God gave a commandment for us to be holy as He is Holy, knowing full well that mankind could never fulfill that mandate. God is not obligated to give mankind the ability to adhere to all His commands, and to believe so is to place man’s thinking above God’s.

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      20. Man can and does fulfill every divine mandate through being joined to Christ. Praise God that He leads all towards a relationship with Him that requires a humble response before we are joined to Christ!

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      21. brianwagner writes, “Praise God that He leads all towards a relationship with Him…”

        Apparently, a little further with His elect – probably including a personal introduction.

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      22. brianwagner writes, “but there was enough understanding to know they better ask the source they heard for more information. That is a freewill choice.”

        Proverbs 1 tells us, “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; Fools despise wisdom and instruction.” Psalm 53 tells us, “The fool has said in his heart, ‘There is no God,'” Here, “fool,” refers to the unsaved. So, let’s take it that you are correct – which Romans 1 substantiates when it says, “that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them.” In Matthew 7, Jesus said, “Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you.” Here, “that which is holy,” and “pearls” refer to the gospel. So, people do have a freewill choice – the issue being to identify reasons why a person would not seek more information and how extensive this problem is. The Calvinist concludes that people do not seek more information because of their depraved nature and this condition extends to all the unsaved – the only way to escape this condition is through the Holy Spirit wielding the word. The task for the non-Calvinist is to identify another reason – that seems to be a difficulty for them.

        Then, “But if the person I heard told EVERYONE to hear and understand… it is a logical conclusion that it is possible for EVERYONE to gain understanding the speaker wants them to have somehow.”

        God instructed Israel to keep His law but it turned out that none could. Christ told people to hear and understand knowing that they also were unable to do so. Who really hears and understands without the help of the Holy Spirit?

        Then, “That is like me saying to you – Fly to California… but you are a native in the Amazon and never saw an airplane… You would have to ask me how you would be able to do that,…”

        Or, I could conclude that you are mentally unstable and walk away. The depraved mind considers the preaching of the cross to be foolishness; did not the Jewish leaders condemn Christ and call Him mad for saying He was God?

        Then, “but if you trusted me,…”

        The depraved mind does not trust Christ, does it?

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      23. And thus you have made up your mind in spite of the evidence to the contrary, Roger. God gives enough light for the individual to decide to find out more or to turn away. The influences are sufficient in both directions. Our God does not deceive with His invitations or warnings to everyone.

        But it is true that once someone is recognized as a dog or pig… it is a waste of time to keep giving them information, except for the warning God gives which will hopefully remain as a seed breaking up some of the hardness. It is better to wait for God to interact with them in other ways to get them ready to listen… which He especially does in answer to our prayers.

        Dogs are those who when you share the gospel they attack to try to destroy you and your credibility any way they can. Pigs are those when you share the gospel respond with mockery and tomfoolery. Both show no interest in seeking.

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      24. Brian writes, “God gives enough light for the individual to decide to find out more or to turn away.” This is not in the Bible!!

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      25. brianwagner writes, “God gives enough light for the individual to decide to find out more or to turn away.”

        Now, for sound exegesis, you just have to get the Scriptures to say the same thing.

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      26. brianwagner writes, “To whom much is given… much is required!”

        As it appears God has invested much in you, should not God require much from you – God did make you a teacher, did He not?

        Liked by 1 person

      27. Rhutchin writes:

        As it appears God has invested much in you, should not God require much from you – God did make you a teacher, did He not?

        Tangential –
        Always always always side-step the point hoping no one will notice.

        Brian has correctly called it your ‘tap dancing’ routine.

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      28. Troy… Let me ask you a question about free-will. Was Adam able to choose to obey God’s command to not eat of the fruit, or was the influence of his wife’s voice too strong so that he had to decide to listen to her? Thx.

        I am asking because of your position is that the will must follow the strongest influence which would seem to me to suggest that Eve’s influence caused Adam to sin according to that position!

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      29. If I may add to this conversation, “Mechanical Inclination” is obvious in Calvinism’s conception of free-will.

        The computer software program “Grandmaster Chess: Tournament” is based upon algorithms which DETERMINE the choices it makes for each move – but those INTERNAL DETERMINATIONS are pre-designed and PRE-DETERMINED by an EXTERNAL intelligence.

        This model of functionality has:
        (1) DETERMINATIVE INCLINATIONS which function INTERNALLY – but which are (2) PREDETERMINED by an intelligence (in this case a software programmer) who resides EXTERNALLY.

        Calvinism’s “free-will” follows the same model of functionality having:
        (1) DETERMINATIVE INCLINATIONS which function INTERNALLY (within the creature – in this case Adam), – but which are (2) PREDETERMINED by an intelligence (in this case a Theos) who resides EXTERNALLY.

        Liked by 1 person

      30. Great illustration and succinctly put, BrD. I hope you don’t mind if I add it the next time I post this question!

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      31. First of all, Adam’s will to choose has to be distinguished from our will to choose because Adam’s will was not yet in bondage to a sinful nature. Obviously, God created Adam with the ability to sin. However, Adam did not possess the same propensity to sin as we do post fall.
        However, now we, as natural men, live in spiritual darkness, and just as Adam hid from God post fall, we too want nothing to do with a holy God (in fact, we hate Him) because we LOVE our sin.
        Now our “free will”, although free to make moral choices, is still in bondage to our nature and is incapable of making “spiritual choices” (i.e. salvation). Our will is ALWAYS inclined to fulfill our strongest desire and absent the HS’s supernatural indwelling of the believer, then we will always do what’s pleasing to the flesh. Why? Because we are void of the Spirit (Rom 8:9).
        Although we possess free will, we are still spiritually separated from God and only God can bridge that gap!

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      32. In Calvinism, the condition of the creature whether pre-fall or post-fall is a tangential red hearing.
        Since Adam’s sin according to Calvin was caused by: -quote “By the secret predestination of god” and -quote “god arranged it”.

        A consequence of god predestining and arranging Adam’s sin is post fall condition of man.
        But a consequence is merely a byproduct of what caused that consequence.

        Whether pre-fall or post-fall, in Calvin’s scheme, all sin is caused by -quote “the secret predestination of god” , and (2) -quote “god arranges it”

        rhutchin reflecting Calvin’s view of god, quite instinctively likens men to -quote “self-motivated dominoes”

        Engineers classify falling dominoes as -quote “pitching mechanics”.
        So its easy to see rhuthins conception (that of Calvin’s) is that human functions are mechanical.
        Additionally, the domino is an entity designed by its creator for express purpose of falling.

        So rutchin without realizing it, is revealing, that Calvinism’s view of god, declares god designs angels and humans with the express purpose of falling. And that he arranges the minute details of every sin.

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      33. Even Lazarus had to get up and walk. When Jesus says, “Jump,” people jump. Physical healing is not salvation.

        Tangential
        It proves Lazarus heard Jesus even in physical death.
        God is not a limited as the Calvinist imagines. 😉

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      34. br.d writes, “It proves Lazarus heard Jesus even in physical death.”

        Or it proves that Lazarus was alive when Jesus spoke to him.

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      35. phillip writes, “Then why didn’t they go ahead and stone her, which the law required, instead of walking away?”

        Some think it had to do with whatever Jesus wrote on the ground. Otherwise, they needed to get Jesus to say either “Stone her,” or “Don’t stone her,” but He foiled their plot, so nothing to be gained by stoning the woman (she was a foil anyway).

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      36. phillip writes, “Then why didn’t they go ahead and stone her, which the law required, instead of walking away?”

        Some think it had to do with whatever Jesus wrote on the ground. Otherwise, they needed to get Jesus to say either “Stone her,” or “Don’t stone her,” but He foiled their plot, so nothing to be gained by stoning the woman (she was a foil anyway).

        Proving that they understood what Jesus said.

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      37. br.d writes, “Proving that they understood what Jesus said.”

        The Jews were good at understanding Jesus. They were still spiritually blind, deaf, and dumb – Jesus was still the stumbling block.

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      38. The Jews were good at understanding Jesus. They were still spiritually blind, deaf, and dumb – Jesus was still the stumbling block.

        The Jews then and the Calvinists after them 😉

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      39. Troy this statement was not from me

        The Jews were good at understanding Jesus. They were still spiritually blind, deaf, and dumb – Jesus was still the stumbling block.

        I responded to this statement with “The Jews then – and the Calvinists after”

        Blessings!

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      40. The spiritual understanding that the Bible speaks of is not concerned with know facts in the Bible or what Jesus said to people while on earth. Spiritual understanding is a supernatural gift that God bestows on His people that they may hear Christ’s voice SPIRITUALLY and obey it. Spiritual hearing/understanding is when the HS Himself applies the Gospel message to the hearts/minds of the elect so that they will freely choose to follow Christ and His Gospel. Understanding facts within the Bible is NOT the spiritual understanding that God uses to save.

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    2. Huh??? Your understanding of Scripture is convoluted Phillip. You’re not good at comparing contexts and you pit Scripture vs Scripture to prove your presuppositions and that doesn’t work sir

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      1. “Your understanding of Scripture is convoluted Phillip.”

        Thanks, brother! Coming from a Calvinist, that’s a compliment.

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      2. But your follow up statement does not disprove the fact that, instead of harmonizing the Scriptures, you’re simply misapplying texts of Scripture to support your ideology. This is called eisegesis and is antithetical to sound biblical hermeneutics. Please quote Scripture and use it within it’s INTENDED context!

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      3. “Please quote Scripture and use it within its INTENDED context!”

        You mean like you do with Romans 8:8?

        Practice what you preach, brother!

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  8. “Citing Dr. Kenneth Keathley, ‘First, the many appeals in the Bible calling sinners to respond to the gospel imply that conversion results in regeneration. The Scriptures are presented as the seed the Spirit of God uses to bring about new life (I Pet. 1:23; James 1:18,21; I John 3:9).

    So, we have–

    “..you have been born again not of seed which is perishable but imperishable, that is, through the living and abiding word of God.” (1 Peter 1:23)

    “In the exercise of His will He brought us forth by the word of truth, so that we might be, as it were, the first fruits among His creatures.” (James 1:18)

    “No one who is born of God practices sin, because His seed abides in him; and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.” (1 John 3:9)

    So, Keathley concludes, “That the Word of God is the Spirit’s instrumental means indicates that faith leads to regeneration.” However, none of these verses says anything about faith or intimates anything about the relationship between a person who is born again and faith. The conclusion that Keathley could properly draw is, “the Word of God is the Spirit’s instrumental means to bring about regeneration.” So, he overreaches on this point – his eisegesis trumps sound exegesis.

    Given that we also know that the Word of God is the Spirit’s instrumental means to convey faith to a person, it seems probable that regeneration and conveyance of faith occur more or less simultaneously. There is more. The argument is not about the presence of faith but the exercise of faith – The person must exercise faith to repent and believe before the new birth is said to occur. If that is the case, then the new birth results from man’s action (to repent and believe) and only indirectly from the word. The point is made by non-Calvinists that faith can be refused and repentance and belief rejected. If so, then only those who choose to receive faith and then choose to repent and believe are then in the position whereby the Spirit can use the word as the instrumental means to bring about regeneration and all who repent and believe would then be born again. This is counter to John 3, where Jesus says that the Spirit acts as it wishes without being provoked to act (i.e., the spirit does not have to wait for a person to repent and believe before it can act to regenerate).

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    1. It is NOT counter to John 3… for “you can not tell from where He comes from or where He is going” does not teach regeneration before faith… If anything… though the exegesis is difficult in this verse because of the grammar of the phrase “so is everyone”… the meaning seems to be another mild rebuke to Nicodemus, like verse 12…

      Jesus is saying… the Holy Spirit is breathing [speaking] where He wants to – and don’t you [Nicodemus] recognize where it is coming from or where it is going [It is coming from God to you right now]. In the same way the one who has been born of the Spirit [speaks where he wants to]. The subject of the second clause is the one who has already been born of the Holy Spirit (perfect tense).

      To make that clause mean – In the same way the Holy Spirit breathes into the one being born again when He wants to, and that before they exercise any faith – is not only trying to prove too much from this verse, but it is making the object of the prepositional phrase, “of the Spirit”, the subject of this last clause, turning the real subject (the one who has been born of God) into an object of an unseen preposition (into) and also changes the tense of the subject, the periphrastic participle, from perfect to present – “the one who has been born again” to “the one being born again.”

      But Calvinists don’t seem to mind twisting verses away from their normal grammar and contextual meanings to try to feign support for their harmful deterministic teachings!

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      1. Brian wrote, “Jesus is saying… the Holy Spirit is breathing [speaking] where He wants to..” Brian! Brian! Brian! Brother where in all of Holy Writ does “breathing” refer to “speaking”. Please provide biblical support for this interjection into the passage.
        However, it is quite substantiated throughout Scripture that the HS’s breathing refers to giving both physical and spiritual life, as well as, power to obey ! Shall we cite several verses supporting this truth:
        Gen 2:7; Job 33:4; Is 42:5; Ezek 37:6; Jn 20:22
        I’ve never found in all of Scripture where “breath”, “breathe”, or “breathing” refers to speaking to someone; especially not in reference to the HS.

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      2. The best connection of Spirit breathing truth is found in the word “inspiration” – θεοπνευστος – “God breathed”, confirming the power of the Scriptures when heard even by hard hearts! “He that has ears to hear, let him hear!”

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      3. Brian I’m perceiving that you are not one to admit when you’re wrong. That last response you gave was totally unrelated to what I asserted. Your response proves that you eisegetically inserted YOUR belief onto the text in John 3 in spite of your attempts to explain away the true intentions of Christ’s teaching by appealing to the Greek language.
        The fact is that when the Bible speaks of Holy Spirit “breathing”, it NEVER relates to Him speaking! It relates to His giving of life and power.
        Brian writes, “..confirming the power of the Scriptures when heard even by hard hearts!” Brian you’re simply in denial brother whenever you make assertions like this when you know that the Gospel is foolishness to the natural man. The Gospel is only powerful when accompanied by the HS my friend.
        I presented you with the scenario of you and I hearing the Gospel and you believed and I didn’t. You were so arrogant to respond that you didn’t harden your heart. So that gives YOU the credit because you were SO humble.

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      4. 1Peter 1:23-25 “… having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever, ….Now this is the word which by the gospel was preached to you.”

        Sounds to me like the Spirit’s breathed Word that is preached and believed before regeneration takes place.

        As the parable of the sower points out… word preached, heart believes, everlasting life (new birth) given… that’s the order!

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      5. The Word preached must be accompanied by the Spirit or else it’s just foolishness to unsaved mankind. This is Bible101! All the passages you provide that teach the word having power must be seen in light of ALL of Scripture Brian. You’re simply isolating texts to prove a false premise that just will not stand up to the scrutiny of tota scriptura. Your arguments are just too easy to refute when compared with Scripture brother!

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      6. The evil one certainly knows how powerful the word is on it own… that’s why he tries to take it out of hard hearts lest the believe and are born again. He must have missed the Calvinism class when it was offered! 😂

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      7. The evil one certainly knows how powerful the word is on it own… that’s why he tries to take it out of hard hearts lest the believe and are born again. He must have missed the Calvinism class when it was offered!

        So true!!! How silly the little Calvinists are – imagining themselves so superior to others.
        What a laugh!!! A brother I knew from the south would say – Bless their little pointed heads!! 😀

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      8. brianwagner writes, “The evil one certainly knows how powerful the word is on it own… that’s why he tries to take it out of hard hearts lest the(y) believe and are born again.”

        Of course, this is true – he is Satan after all. However, we read elsewhere, “our gospel did not come to you in word only, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction;” (1 Thessalonians 1) The key phrase being, “… in word only, but …” Certainly, Satan can short circuit the process by taking the word out of the hard hearts – but only from those who do not understand (Matthew 13) and they do not understand because the Holy Spirit must help in the understanding. That this is true is seen in two other soils where two other instances are described where understanding is missing. In the end, Satan can only take the word from those left unprotected by the Holy Spirit.

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      9. In word only does not mean without its own live power or ineffectual! But Paul is reminding them of other effectual graces that accompanied it. Nor is Paul saying that the “power… Spirit… and conviction” could not be resisted. Indeed they were by many Thessalonians.

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      10. brianwagner writes, “1Peter 1:23-25 “… having been born again,…through the word of God…Now this is the word which by the gospel was preached to you.” Sounds to me like the Spirit’s breathed Word that is preached and believed before regeneration takes place.”

        That is called jumping to a conclusion (that is not warranted). Can we agree that the verse, tells us that the person is “born again” consequent to one hearing the word preached? You add, “…and believed…” That is your personal eisegesis, isn’t it? If your eisegesis is not warranted by context, then the Calvinist can rightly conclude that one is “born again” or regenerated through the preached word and this then enables belief.

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      11. The Gospel is according to the Scriptures… The Scriptures are Spirit breathed, living, active, dividing thoughts and intents in their use. No illogical conclusion was being jumped! Others can decide if the criticism sounds as shallow to them as it does not me!

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      12. The Gospel is nothing more than mere words without the accompaniment of the Spirit. This is why it’s foolishness to the natural man.

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      13. brianwagner writes, “The best connection of Spirit breathing truth is found in the word “inspiration” – θεοπνευστος – “God breathed”, confirming the power of the Scriptures when heard even by hard hearts!”

        That word appears only once in the Scriptures from what I can find.

        2 Timothy 3
        16 All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness;
        17 that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.

        In context, it relates to the “man of God.” One purpose of the Scriptures are to equip the believer for every good work. In this context, the Scriptures would have no application to the lost. This word is not used in the Scriptures “confirming the power of the Scriptures when heard even by hard hearts!” That seems to be your personal philosophy.

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      14. Roger… you set yourself up for this one… The context of 2Tim 3:16 is also verse 15 where the same Scriptures have the ability in themselves to provide wisdom leading to salvation through faith in Christ!

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      15. brianwagner writes, “The context of 2Tim 3:16 is also verse 15 where the same Scriptures have the ability in themselves to provide wisdom leading to salvation through faith in Christ!”

        OK. Let’s look at context.

        2 Timothy 3
        14 You [Timothy], however, continue in the things you have learned and become convinced of, knowing from whom you have learned them;
        15 and that from childhood you have known the sacred writings which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.
        16 All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness;
        17 that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.

        v16-17 tell us that the Scriptures are given by God to prepare the believer for every good work. In v14-15, we have the example of Timothy who was taught the Scriptures by his mother and grandmother from birth. Paul then says that the Scriptures “…are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation…” Paul does not say that they will, but that they are able. Thus, we anticipate that two different people, both having learned the Scriptures from birth may go in two different directions (or do you propose that all who are taught the Scriptures from birth will be saved?). We would then rightly conclude that something else is going on. In 1 Thessalonians 1, Paul writes, “…our gospel did not come to you in word only, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit…” From this, we can conclude that the word is “able” and combined with the Holy Spirit, is effective. The word is necessary to salvation, but so is the working of the Holy Spirit through the word.

        Originally, you wrote, “The best connection of Spirit breathing truth is found in the word “inspiration” – θεοπνευστος – “God breathed”, confirming the power of the Scriptures when heard even by hard hearts!”

        The issue is not the Spirit breathing truth into the words of men to produce Scripture as Paul is not saying that Spirit-breathed Scriptures produce salvation, but they are able to produce salvation and this only when combined with the power of the holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit produces the scriptures that He then uses to bring God’s elect to salvation. “[God] who began a good work in [His elect] will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus, ” and “we [God’s elect] are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.]

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      16. The Word is living and active and able to make one wise for salvation through faith in Christ… even if the Spirit doesn’t help… though I can’t imagine why He wouldn’t when He sees that Word already cutting away in the thoughts and intents of a person’s heart… especially when He desires every man to be saved and come to a knowledge of the truth. Though I understand that Calvinists don’t seem to want everyone to be given that opportunity for a freewill choice for or against salvation, because they don’t believe God wants that for everyone!

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      17. Brian writes, “The Word is living and active and able to make one wise for salvation through faith in Christ… even if the Spirit doesn’t help..” This is why I accuse Brian of rank heresy!! Brian is espousing a view that promotes human ability to become saved APART from any action of the HS. This is Pelagian to the core and has been condemned as unorthodox and heretical.
        Brian is promoting a Gospel that teaches that man ON HIS OWN has the ability to respond to a God-inspired Gospel. But he also teaches a kind of prevenient grace in the form of “light” or a “general enlightenment” that gives every man the ability to respond to the Gospel. This is a false Gospel because it teaches that salvation doesn’t REQUIRE any divine initiative or intervention apart from man’s autonomous free will.

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      18. brianwagner writes, “The Word is living and active and able to make one wise for salvation through faith in Christ… even if the Spirit doesn’t help… ”

        There is the rub. Does the word affect a person by itself or is it the Spirit wielding it that makes for a powerful combination.

        The, “Though I understand that Calvinists don’t seem to want everyone to be given that opportunity for a freewill choice for or against salvation, because they don’t believe God wants that for everyone!”

        The Calvinist understands God to have an eternal plan that He is bringing to completion.

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      19. The fact is that Christ is teaching a doctrine that appear to be impossible from a human standpoint and Nicodemus realizes this. Christ is teaching a Pharisee (someone quite familiar with the Scriptures) about the nature and origen of salvation. So Nicodemus is rightly befuddled because Jesus is teaching a salvation that is humanly IMPOSSIBLE and outside of man’s power to effectuate. When Christ tells Nicodemus you must be born from above, Nicodemus understood the utter impossibility of this. But Christ reiterated that salvation is wrought from above. The Christ gives Nicodemus some insight as to how God accomplishes this miracle – that is, the HS initiates spiritual life wherever and whenever He wishes. Salvation is entirely the decision and action of the HS alone. Salvation begins with God’s action!! You must be born FROM ABOVE!!

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      20. New birth is from above and impossible for man to cause… but according to God’s promise He causes it after the light He gives is received freely through repentance and faith! Praise His Name!

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      21. Troy writes:
        “To the contrary, your position is far-fetched if one is a serious Bible student.”

        “Serious Bible student!”

        The LORD shall cut off all flattering lips, and the tongue that speaks proud things

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      22. brianwagner writes, “New birth is from above and impossible for man to cause… but according to God’s promise He causes it after the light He gives is received freely through repentance and faith!”

        I had though that your position was that “light” was given to all people to lead each person to seek God and this would hopefully be followed by repentance and faith. Now, you seem to say that light must be “received freely through repentance and faith” which seems to negate any purpose to get a person to seek God. So, you have confused me.

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      23. It’s not either/or but both, Roger… sorry for the confusion… the light must be received at every stage it is pursued through repentance and faith and it leads them to seek God. If they do… they receive more light until the moment they must repent and trust in the gospel. When God sees that condition met, He gives the new birth.

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      24. Nowhere is this remotely taught in Scripture. This is a man-made doctrine that represents a false Gospel. Brian you have developed a doctrine that you have rationalized to be truthful, but it’s not found in Scripture my friend. Very dangerous!!

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      25. You are no authority to listen to when you state something is not in Scripture after an abundance of Scripture evidence has been shared to you showing it has. The readers of our conversation, I am guessing, are not impressed by your posturing, Troy!

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      26. Jesus said to his disciples “you don’t know what spirit you are of”
        Notice he didn’t say “you are demon possessed”.

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      27. brianwagner writes, “the light must be received at every stage it is pursued through repentance and faith and it leads them to seek God.”

        By “light” you now appear to mean no more that the Scriptures.

        Then, “they receive more light until the moment they must repent and trust in the gospel. When God sees that condition met, He gives the new birth.”

        Or the new birth conveyed through the light propels a person to repentance and trust. You continue to state your position but never argue (prove through the Scriptures) that your position is correct.

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      28. Light takes different forms… including the Scriptures sometimes. And your false profession, Roger, of what I have done or not done is rather annoying… “never argue (prove through the Scriptures) that your position is correct.” Really!!! You should at least put the caveat… “to my liking” in such statements. Those kind of statements make you sound very proud and authoritarian.

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      29. Ahhhhh Brian, you are guilty of the same thing in your interactions with me. Let’s refrain from the ad hominem statements if we’re guilty of the same.

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      30. brianwagner writes, “Those kind of statements make you sound very proud and authoritarian.”

        It is rare that you appeal to the Scriptures in the course of your comments. Even you can see that.

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      31. Who took my friend Roger away and replaced him with someone who does not see all the passages I have discussed using logic and meaning from normal rules of grammar? Would you like me to list them from this page alone? Those which I started the conversation concerning, but not all, are – Mark 7:14, John 1:4-13, 3:8, 12:35-36, Rom 9:25, 2Tim 3:15, 16, Heb 3:7-8, 4:12, 1Pet 1:23-25. I did get into a little give n take with Troy over his temerity without evidence, and with you for unjustified criticism, like the one I am now responding to! 😉

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      32. If all the feedback you get in your religious circles, is that of religious pride, then a little feedback from another Christian perspective will be a good thing.

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      33. brianwagner writes, “It is NOT counter to John 3… for “you can not tell from where He comes from or where He is going” does not teach regeneration before faith…”

        I read it only to say that the Holy Spirit is not provoked to action by anything other than itself. Keathley is arguing that the Spirit responds to those who exercise faith – repenting and believing – so that the Holy Spirit reacts to people who repent and believe by giving them new birth. He makes the Spirit reactive and not proactive. Are you contending that the Spirit thinks about it and can do otherwise as Keathley seems to say?

        If the Spirit reacts to the exercise of faith, then it would be difficult to compare it to wind as one would see the spirit coming given the exercise of faith. The Spirit can be proactive – as described in 3:8 – only where faith follows His action and is not the cause of His action.

        Then, “Jesus is saying… the Holy Spirit is breathing [speaking]…”

        This is an interesting way to see it, but certainly not the only way. Jesus could be making a simple comparison between the wind and the spirit. The wind blows and no one would know it if it did not produce an effect (a sound) but still no one knows where the wind came from or where it is going. So it is with the one having been born of the spirit – he didn’t see the Spirit coming and did not perceive its presence until he saw the effect in himself.

        If you want to have it as the Holy Spirit speaking, then He must be speaking to those who have ears to hear – thus, not everyone, so not necessarily framed as a question, “…don’t you [Nicodemus] recognize where it is coming from..” but as a statement, “…you don’t recognize where it is coming from until it is upon you.”

        This makes the statement, “so it is with everyone having been born of the Spirit,” to say that those on whom the Spirit acts never saw it coming.

        I don’t think that Calvinists are trying to introduce faith into 3:8 (even though 3:8 can be cited in a broader discussion concerning the role of faith in salvation). In 3:8, however, faith is not mentioned and there is no purpose to introduce it up to explain the verse.

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      34. Roger said – “He (Keathley) makes the Spirit reactive and not proactive.” The Scripture teaches both! God is proactive in making the conditions He wants for His plan of salvation. He is proactive in speaking when He wants to, giving light to each person. He is reactive to His plan when He see the conditions of repentance and faith met. And He is proactive in giving the new birth after seeing those conditions met.

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      35. Brian wrote, “He is reactive to His plan when He see the conditions of repentance and faith met.” There are no preconditions for salvation! God simply saves! Repentance and faith are His work in us. It only becomes our repentance and faith once we experience it for ourselves through conversion. From predestination to glorification God is working out His own salvation plan.

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      36. brianwagner writes, “He is proactive in giving the new birth after seeing those conditions met.”

        If one acts in response to certain conditions being met, then that is reactive – God reacts to those who meets His conditions and ignores those who do not. Of course, God could be said to proactively ignore those who do not meet His conditions (and unknown to them) rather than proactively help them meet those conditions..

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      37. brianwagner writes, “Thankfully He helps them to seek to meet the conditions!”

        A nice Calvinistic response. Without God’s help, disaster!

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      38. brianwagner writes, “and when they respond to His help in repentance and faith He gives the new birth!”

        Or the new birth is part of God’s help, and this before God gives additional help through His gift of faith which, evidently, He only gives to His elect.

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      39. There is no verse that says there is no faith before the new birth… but actually there are verses that say there is… John 1:12, 12:36, 20:31.

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  9. Romans 8:8… “So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God.”

    Again, IN CONTEXT, the verse is speaking of pleasing God via keeping the law (Romans 8:7) and obtaining His righteous requirements (Romans 8:4). This is proper exegesis. Those who add faith to this portion of scripture are guilty of committing eisegesis.

    1 Corinthians 2:14…. “But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.”

    Again, IN CONTEXT, this is referring to the “deep things of God” (1 Corinthians 2:10). This is proper exegesis. Those who add the gospel of Christ are guilty of eisegesis. The scriptures declare that the gospel is something that even a child can understand (2 Timothy 3:15).

    Also, to rebuke our Calvinists brothers rendering of these verses actual biblical examples have been provided (Mark 7:14, Mark 12:32-34, John 8:3-9, Hebrews 3:7-8). We are allowing scripture (biblical examples) to interpret scripture (written).

    Instead of providing actual biblical examples of man being regenerated prior to faith (which they can’t), they instead resort to words like…. “convoluted, eisegesis, wrong, and sub-biblical” just to name a few.

    So, with all that said, who is guilty of eisegesis? Who is inserting their belief into the text? Who won’t admit when their wrong? Whose understanding of scripture is convoluted? Who is misapplying texts of Scripture to support their ideology?

    He who has ears to hear, let him hear!

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    1. phillip writes, “Romans 8:8… “So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God.”
      Again, IN CONTEXT, the verse is speaking of pleasing God via keeping the law (Romans 8:7) and obtaining His righteous requirements (Romans 8:4). This is proper exegesis. Those who add faith to this portion of scripture are guilty of committing eisegesis.”

      Not so. Hebrews 11 tells us, “…without faith it is impossible to please Him…” This is an universal truth. Those in the flesh do not have faith. This says that the unsaved (those in the flesh) cannot please God (because they do not have faith). That this is true should be obvious even to those who casually read the Scriptures. To ascribe this to eisegesis is foolishness. As v7 tells us, those in the flesh are “hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so;” While there is a direct application of this to the Jews, it is obvious that it applies to Gentiles as well (are we to think that Gentiles, to whom the law was not given, would have some advantage over the Jews in this regard?).

      Then, “1 Corinthians 2:14…. “But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.”
      Again, IN CONTEXT, this is referring to the “deep things of God” (1 Corinthians 2:10). This is proper exegesis.”

      Not so. v10 tells us that the Spirit searches out everything, even the deep things of God. v12 then deals with some of those things – “that we might know the things freely given to us by God,” Included among those things of God freely given to us is the gospel.

      Then, “The scriptures declare that the gospel is something that even a child can understand (2 Timothy 3:15).”

      Not exactly. It speaks of Timothy and says, “from childhood you have known the sacred writings.” Earlier, Paul has written, “I am mindful of the sincere faith within you, which first dwelt in your grandmother Lois, and your mother Eunice, and I am sure that it is in you as well.” Thus, we have the special circumstances that attend a child born to a child with at least one parent who teaches them the Scriptures. It may be true that a child can understand the Scriptures but not without the opportunity to do so with that opportunity requiring several things including the guidance of the Holy Spirit and faith.

      Then, “to rebuke our Calvinists brothers rendering of these verses actual biblical examples have been provided (Mark 7:14, Mark 12:32-34, John 8:3-9, Hebrews 3:7-8). We are allowing scripture (biblical examples) to interpret scripture (written).”

      The Calvinists argue that there is more to sound exegesis than the superficial rendering of verses apart from context.

      Then, “Instead of providing actual biblical examples of man being regenerated prior to faith (which they can’t), they instead resort to words like…. “convoluted, eisegesis, wrong, and sub-biblical” just to name a few.”

      Surely you jest! Do not Calvinists point to Lydia whose heart was opened by God – but then you did say, “man” so maybe you meant to exclude women.

      Then, “So, with all that said, who is guilty of eisegesis? Who is inserting their belief into the text? Who won’t admit when their wrong? Whose understanding of scripture is convoluted? Who is misapplying texts of Scripture to support their ideology?”

      Given your arguments above, I see you making a strong case for yourself.

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  10. Troy writes…. “There are no preconditions for salvation! God simply saves!”

    Talk about a heart of stone.

    Mark 16:16…
    He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.

    Acts 16:31…
    So they said, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household.”

    Romans 10:9….
    ….that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.

    Seems pretty straight forward to me.

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    1. All of those verses, when compared with all of Scripture, will reveal that God is the ultimate cause behind them. Brother Phillip I’m telling you that the Bible was written in such a manner as to seal men in their unbelief and false teachings. The Bible is the mind of God and must be CAREFULLY SEARCHED OUT AND DISECTED!!

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  11. Rhutchin’s method of interpretation is a perfect example of eisegesis. Rhutchin takes the language of Romans 8:8 and blurs it with Hebrews 11:6. The scriptures here are showing a clear distinction. In Romans 8:1-8 Paul is telling his audience that man cannot please God by keeping His law (verse 4) and obtaining His righteous requirements (verse 7). Paul later confirms this in Galatians 2:16 when he writes…

    “….knowing that a man is not justified by *the works of the law* but by faith in Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, that we might be justified by faith in Christ and not by *the works of the law*; for by *the works of the law* no flesh shall be justified.”

    Now, regarding Hebrews 11:6……
    But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.

    Nowhere in this verse (or anywhere in scripture for that matter) does it say “the unsaved (those in the flesh) cannot please God (because they do not have faith).” The scriptures declare that fallen man cannot please God by keeping His laws. The only way fallen man can please God is by believing His word (spoken or written). And that is precisely what Hebrews 11 is saying by given Abel, Enoch, Noah, and Abraham as biblical examples of fallen man being declared righteous by faith. Nowhere in scripture does it ever state, or even hint, that these men had previously been regenerated by God. But for the Calvinists, they had to be.

    Finally, Rhutchin writes… “Do not Calvinists point to Lydia whose heart was opened by God….”

    Of course they do! Calvinists use the example of Lydia in a desperate attempt to show that she had been regenerated by God upon hearing Paul’s message.

    Regarding fallen man, Calvinists write….

    “It has made him love sin and hate God. The doctrine of total depravity is a very humbling one.” – A. W. Pink

    “They hate God and do not want Him, as is the case of every person without the Spirit……People reject Christ for a reason. They hate God and they hate the gospel of Jesus Christ.” – John Hendryx

    “It is only the direct intervention of God while in this state of death, that changes the disposition of a man’s heart to desire God and to be right with Him. Hearts are changed from God haters into God lovers by His all-conquering grace alone.” – John Samson

    Calvinism teaches that fallen man, by nature, hates God. Even Troy has said so on this very thread. According to Calvinism, He must change them from God-haters to God-lovers. This is done by the process of regeneration.

    However, the example of Lydia fails. Prior to God opening her heart, Luke already describe Lydia as a worshipper of the One True God (Acts 16:14). Paul even found her at “a place of prayer” (Acts 16:13). Odd place to find a “God-hater”. Not only is Lydia not an example of regeneration prior to faith, she is actually an example against TD/TI. God’s opening of Lydia’s heart is just an example of God planting the seed (the very word of God/the gospel of Christ) in her mind.

    So, once again we have our Calvinists brothers displaying their eisegesis of the scriptures, again, in a desperate attempt to support their ideology.

    Will they heed this explanation? No. I suspect it will only harden their hearts (free will!).

    Of course, what should we expect from our Calvinist brothers who believe….

    “Alive (but not living)…..Look…..Live.”

    And…..

    “A man is not saved because he believes in Christ; he believes in Christ because he is saved.”

    He who has ears to hear, let him hear!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Phillip you’re missing the point behind why Robert is comparing Romans 8 with Hebrews 11. The point he’s solidifying is that natural man lacks the saving faith to please God. Without this supernatural saving faith, mankind only has his flesh and therefore cannot please God.
      Just as I explained to you before, Romans 8 is teaching a dichotomy between those who are in the flesh (void of the Spirit) and those who have the Spirit. Those void of the Spirit cannot please God even when they do good deeds.

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    2. phillip writes, “Nowhere in this verse (or anywhere in scripture for that matter) does it say “the unsaved (those in the flesh) cannot please God (because they do not have faith).” The scriptures declare that fallen man cannot please God by keeping His laws. The only way fallen man can please God is by believing His word (spoken or written).”

      Can a person keep the law without also having faith? I say, No. If a person cannot keep the law, then he cannot have faith. If a person has faith, then he can keep the law. We agree that, “The only way fallen man can please God is by believing His word (spoken or written).” Of course, to believe God’s word requires faith.

      In Romans 8 and Hebrews 11 there are two statements of truth.
      1. “…those who are in the flesh cannot please God.” – If A (those in the flesh) then B (cannot please God)
      2. “…without faith it is impossible to please God.” – If B (cannot please God) then C (without faith)
      The conclusion can be drawn, A (to be in the flesh) is C (to be without faith)

      If both (1) and (2) are true, then it must be true that those who are in the flesh are without faith. It would be illogical to conclude (1) that those in the flesh have faith and cannot please God or (2) that those in the flesh are without faith and can please God.

      Sound exegesis takes one Scripture and insists that it be consistent with all other Scripture. Insisting that the truth of Romans 8 be consistent with Hebrews 11 allows us to draw additional truth – that those in the flesh do not have faith.

      Then, “Calvinists use the example of Lydia in a desperate attempt to show that she had been regenerated by God upon hearing Paul’s message.”

      Not exactly. Calvinists say that the “opening of Lydia’s heart” is regeneration and precedes her exercise of faith to believe.

      Then, “Calvinism teaches that fallen man, by nature, hates God.”

      Such is the depraved mind. Do you disagree with the Calvinists on this?

      Then, “Luke already describe Lydia as a worshipper of the One True God (Acts 16:14).”

      The major translations have “worshipper of God,” not “a worshipper of the One True God.” Without God’s work to open her heart, Lydia would not have responded to Paul’s message. Would She? We can agree that, “God’s opening of Lydia’s heart is just an example of God planting the seed (the very word of God/the gospel of Christ) in her mind.” Else, how could she be saved? Thus, Paul can write, “I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 1) and then Ephesians 2, “we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works,…”

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      1. You really should take a course in logic Roger, if you haven’t already. I recommend Geisler and Brooks book, Come Let us Reason. You have just committed the undistributed middle fallacy! All A is C, All B is C does not logically mean All A is B.

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      2. One does not need to understand the rules of logic to be led by the HS into truth. Scripture teaches that all A is B for Scripture separates those in the flesh as unregenerate and those in the Spirit as regenerate and pleasing to God. The context of Romans 8 is making a definite dichotomy between who can and cannot please God. To be in the flesh in Romans 8 is equal to not having the Spirit and it’s impossible to please God if one is not indwelt by the Spirit!

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      3. Troy writes
        “One does not need to understand the rules of logic to be led by the HS into truth.”

        This is classic Calvinist thinking
        Christian history shows us in hundreds of examples how many abuses have been perpetrated – claimed as led by the HS.

        The spirit of God is not the spirit of confusion. And fallacious logic is confusion.
        Calvinist say these things because double-think and fallacious logic is part of their thinking.

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      4. I repeat..one does not need to know the rules of logic in order for the HS to reveal truth. In fact, most people who come to truth have no idea of what the rules of logic are.

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      5. Troy writes
        “I repeat..one does not need to know the rules of logic in order for the HS to reveal truth. In fact, most people who come to truth have no idea of what the rules of logic are.”

        How do you discern the spirit of error?

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      6. brianwagner writes, “All A is C, All B is C does not logically mean All A is B.”

        We are not dealing with equalities here. We have A then B and B then C which gives A then C.

        A (those in the flesh) then B (cannot please God)
        B (cannot please God) then C (without faith)
        Therefore, A (those in the flesh) then C (without faith)

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      7. There is no verse that says if they cannot please God they are without faith… certainly not Heb 11:6! It just says faith is an ingredient for pleasing God… even demons have it… but there are only ingredients besides faith, but there is the right object in which to place faith.

        Heb 11:6 also says that believing that God exists must happen before coming to God…. Clearly that belief it while still in the flesh!

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      8. A (those in the flesh) then B (cannot please God)
        B (cannot please God) then C (without faith)
        Therefore, A (those in the flesh) then C (without faith)

        Brian is right this is the fallacy of excluded middle:
        Logic has never been a good subject for you rhutchin.

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  12. Rhutchin writes….

    “In Romans 8 and Hebrews 11 there are two statements of truth.

    1. ‘…those who are in the flesh cannot please God.’ – If A (those in the flesh) then B (cannot please God)

    2. ‘…without faith it is impossible to please God.’ – If B (cannot please God) then C (without faith)

    The conclusion can be drawn, A (to be in the flesh) is C (to be without faith)”

    What a perfect example of Calvinist eisegesis.

    In Romans 8 and Hebrews 11 there are two “distinct” statements of truth.

    1. “….those in the flesh cannot please God” by keeping the law. (A)

    2. “….without faith it is impossible to please God”. (B)

    Conclusion. Fallen man cannot please God by keeping His laws (A), but fallen man can please God thru faith (B).

    Galatians 2:16…
    ….knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law (A) but by faith in Jesus Christ (B), even we have believed in Christ Jesus, that we might be justified by faith in Christ (B) and not by the works of the law (A); for by the works of the law no flesh shall be justified (A).

    Galatians 3:2….
    This only I want to learn from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law (A), or by the hearing of faith (B)?

    Galatians 3:11….
    But that no one is justified by the law in the sight of God (A) is evident, for “the just shall live by faith (B).”

    Romans 3:27-28….Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? Of works (A)? No, but by the law of faith (B). Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith (B) apart from the deeds of the law (A).

    All this scriptural evidence and, yet, rhutchin will only continue to harden his heart.

    He who has ears to hear, let him hear!

    Like

    1. For further clarification, let me add…..

      1 Corinthians 1:21….
      In God’s wisdom, he determined that the world wouldn’t come to know him through its wisdom. Instead, God was pleased to save those who believe (B) through the foolishness of preaching.

      Praise God!

      Like

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