Thursday, February 12, 2009

Dr. J.L. Dagg: Unable to Teach at SWBTS?

Dr. John Leadley (J.L.) Dagg (1794-1884) was the first Southern Baptist systematic theologian to be widely read and accepted by Southern Baptists as a whole. J.L. Dagg pastored the Fifth Baptist Church in Philadelphia for ten years (1825-1834) and would later serve as President of Mercer University in Penfield, Georgia (1844-1854). Mercer enjoyed tremendous growth and recognition during Dagg's presidency, eventually moving to its current location in Macon, Georgia.

Dagg's writing career as a theologian had more influence on Southern Baptists in the 19th Century than any other Southern Baptist. His Manual of Theology (1857), Treatise of Church Order (1858), Elements of Moral Science (1859), and Evidences of Christianity (1869) all continue to stand testament to Dagg's theological acumen and breadth of biblical understanding. The Southern Baptist Convention in 1879, just five years before Dagg's death, passed a unanimous motion (when is the last time that has happened?) that requested the "venerable J.L. Dagg (to) write a catechism . . . . containing the substance of the Christian religion" for the benefit of future Southern Baptists.

Southern Baptists held Dr. J.L. Dagg in high esteem. This is the same Dr. Dagg that had no hesitation to write that Christ atoned for the sins of the elect only. Dr. Dagg firmly believed and taught that Christ died as a Substitute for His people alone. The Father, according to Dagg, has chosen and loved from eternity a certain number of sinners from every tribe, nation and tongue (the world) and given these ungodly sinners to His Son to redeem. Dr. Dagg taught that the Bible promises that Christ will effectually and perfectly accomplish His intended work, and not one of the elect would - or could - ever be lost. Salvation is of the Lord. Thus, Dr. Dagg would never say to every single human being "Christ died for your sins," because he didn't believe Christ died for every single human being. Christ died as a substitute and atoned for the sins of the elect only. The evidence of God's love and saving grace is the sinner's brokenness and repentance over sin and a willingness to place personal faith in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. Dr. Dagg wrote in Manual of Theology, Book 7, Chapter 4, "Doctrine Concerning Divine Grace:"

The supposition that Christ bore the sins of the whole human race is attended with much difficulty. Multitudes died in impenitence before he came into the world, and were suffering for their sins in the other world, while he was hanging on the cross. How could he be a substitute for these, and suffer the penalty for their sins, when they were suffering it in their own persons? And if he endured the penalty for the sins of all who have since died, or shall hereafter die in impenitence, how shall they be required to satisfy justice a second time by personal suffering?

J.L. Dagg had earlier set forth the Scriptures that indicate Christ died for particular sinners, those that God chose from eternity to redeem and sanctify for the praise of His grace.

The Scriptures teach that the Son of God, in coming into the world and laying down his life, had the salvation of a peculiar people in view: "Thou shalt call his name Jesus, for he shall save his people from their sins."[Matt. i. 21] "The good Shepherd giveth his life for the sheep."[John x. 11] "Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the Church, and gave himself for it, that he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, that he might present it to himself a glorious church."[Eph. v. 25-27] The Scriptures also teach that the expectation of the Redeemer will be fully realized, and that not one of all whom the Father gave him will fail to be saved: "He shall see his seed. He shall see of the travail of his soul and be satisfied."[Isaiah liii. 10, 11] "All that the Father giveth me, shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out." "And this is the Father's will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day."[John vi. 37, 39] "Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am."[John xvii. 24]

For those who would want the reason why God would redeem a certain specified number of sinners through Christ for the praise of His grace and determine to righteously judge other sinners outside of Christ for the praise of His glorious justice, Dagg would offer:

Those who are not included in the election of grace, are called, in Scripture, "the rest,"[Rom. xi. 7] and vessels of wrath."[Rom. ix. 22] Why they are not included, we are as unable to explain as why the others are included; and we are therefore compelled to refer the matter to the sovereignty of God, who, beyond all doubt, acts herein most wisely and righteously, though he has not explained to us the reasons of his procedure. His absolute sovereignty, is the discrimination which he makes, is expressed by Paul in these words: "He hath mercy on whom he will have mercy; and whom he will he hardeneth."[Rom. ix. 18]

Dr. Dagg believed, as have tens of thousands of Southern Baptists throughout our Convention's history, that those for whom Christ will be effectually redeemed, because Christ saved them through His work of atonement. In other words, it is the work of Christ that saves - not faith. Faith only evidences we have part and portion in the work of Christ. As Dr. Dagg so eloquently states:

In Rom. v.11, the only place in the New Testament where the word atonement occurs, the Greek word for which it stands, is the same that is rendered reconciling--reconciliation, in other places.[Rom. xi. 15; 2 Cor. v. 18, 19] The reconciliation is not between God and sin in the abstract, for such a reconciliation is impossible. It is a reconciliation of persons; and such a reconciliation as secures eternal salvation. "If, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God, by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life."[Rom. v. 10] In Paul's view, all those for whom Christ's death made reconciliation or atonement, will certainly be saved; and therefore atonement cannot be universal, unless salvation be universal. It is possible to use the word atonement in such a sense, as to render the question respecting the extent of the atonement one of mere definition: but it is best to use the words of Scripture in the Scripture sense.

I read the incredibly precise and biblically saturated doctrine of grace articulated by Dr. Dagg and am blessed. But then I read statements from our current leaders at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary like the following:

"Southwestern will not build a school in the future around anybody who could not look anybody in the world in the eyes and say, "Christ died for your sins." Paige Patterson, President of SWBTS, February 5, 2009

“A consistent five-point Calvinist cannot look a congregation in the eyes or even a single sinner in the eye and say: “Christ died for you.” What they have to say to be consistent with their own theology is “Christ died for sinners.” Since Christ did not die for the non-elect, and since the five-point Calvinist does not know who the elect are, it is simply not possible in a preaching or witnessing situation to say to them directly “Christ died for you.” Dr. David Allen, Dean of SWBTS School of Theology, SWBTS Center for Theological Research, November 2008.

In light of the extraordinary narrowing of the doctrinal parameters of the Southern Baptist Convention in the last 15 years, a narrowing that has led to an emphasis on Landmark, independent, Fundamental ecclesiology and soteriology - which by its very nature leads to separation from those who disagree - I can't help but ask the following question:

Would Dr. John Leadley Dagg be able to hold a faculty position within the school of theology at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in 2009?

I have absolutely no problem with SWBTS having Landmark, independent, Fundamental separatists as faculty members, particularly since this is the ideology of the President. My problem is the notion that one is not truly a Southern Baptist deserving of ministry unless you happen to be ideologically in conformity with them.

Thousands of Southern Baptists are not, and neither was Dr. Dagg.

In His Grace,



Anonymous said...

Gotta love Dagg!

Anonymous said...

""venerable J.L. Dagg (to) write a catechism . . . . containing the substance of the Christian religion"

The real question is, do we actually have anyone in the convention alive today for whom the title "venerable" could be ascribed?

We today should not take lightly the young convention's opinion of Dagg.

Today we tend to render old age useless. That is a shame. Who alive today can we venerate?

I would like to start a list of Venerable Statesman/Theologians of the SBC:

(not necessarily endorsing theology but character, age, and service)

Charles Stanley
Jerry Vines
Curtis Scarborough
Bob Curtis
Jim McNeil
Roy Fish
Billy Graham

(I am pretty sure Paul Burleson belongs on this list but I not qualified to add his name.)

(I am also sure there are a host of moderates and liberals who belong on the list. For example Daniel Vestal and Jimmy Carter. However, Kevin might be a nicer blogger of late--but not THAT nice.) :)

Anyway, I hope this list grows. It is kinda fun to venerate the living.

The UnVenerable RevKev

Mark Burleson said...

The discussion between reformed/calvinist and Arminianism has always kind of intrigued me.

I'm sad to see it has brought division among some SBC members as well as other issues that buffet other denominations/groups.

Joe Blackmon said...

I made the point over at the BI Blog that if Patterson was saying what he said about looking someone in the eye and saying "Jesus died for you" he was taking an obviously Anti-Calvinist stance and was told by Scott Gordon (I think) that I was wrong. A five-pointer could say that to a person because it was sin that sent Christ to the cross. It was pretty clear Paige "I'd like that Paige-sized" Patterson was not talking about playing word games but meant exactly what he said.

WatchingHISstory said...


great post!!!

The discussion between Reformed/Calvinist and Arminianism intrigues me.

I'm glad to see it has brought division among some SBC members and other denominations/groups.

There must be strong disagreement on this issue of atonement to the point of division!

Bob Cleveland said...


Whatever it is that is going on, in the leadership, administration, and teaching at SWBTS, it's what it is. And the Seminary Administration has the right to do that if they want to.

I have no quarrel with that, although I disagree with their doing it.

The quarrel I have is that they won't own up to it. They seem to want to say all this stuff is business as usual, which it sure doesn't look like, to me.

p.s. Didn't somebody say that, if they wanted to speed up the change in beliefs in the SBC, that they'd move from tightening down at the IMB and NAMB, to changing what you had to believe, in order to teach at the seminaries? Hmmmm......

Anonymous said...

Third verse, same as the first! (and second)


I commend you. You take speculation to ever increasing heights. Can you please explain to us Southern Baptists, why you are better qualified to make decisions concerning staff members at SWBTS than the President of the seminary?

This armchair quarterbacking with SWBTS needs to stop. Period.

Jeff said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jeff said...

Wade, I am not sure that Dagg would be excluded. There are currently Calvinists at SWBTS. A better title might be that Dr. J.L. Dagg: Not consider a TRUE Southern Baptist.

The question for Dr. Patterson is:

Can you be a Calvinist and a TRUE Southern Baptist? If the answer is yes, then they should be able to teach anywhere. If not.....

Jeff said...

Dr. Allen, You cannot say to someone that if they die without Christ they will go to hell because you believe that Jesus died for everyone. Since his death secure forgiveness---therefore no one goes to hell. Therefore, I assumed you don't believe in hell.

Jim Shaver said...

Dagg's Manual of Theology was the first systematic theology textbook written by a Southern Baptist and used at the first seminary of the SBC and other Baptist Schools in the South.

When I went through seminary in the late 70's his name was never mentioned in any context in any classroom. I had to discover him for myself after graduation.

Now thanks to the Founders and others, Dr. Dagg is being rediscovered and reinstated in his rightful place in Southern Baptist history.

It is sad that there are so many in the SBC today who are more than willing to disavow and distance themselves from our theological heritage. said...


Be careful! :) I am ambivolent on how other people feel about the atonement, but have strong feelings that nobody, on either side, should separate from other Southern Baptists over this issue.

In fact, I'll go further, the most gracious people on the planet ought to be the ones, like you, who understand - theologically - pure grace.


Wade said...

Bob Cleveland,

Once again, you have succinctly stated the root issue. said...


I agree with you. However, I do not put it in terms you propose, because I do not believe that any SBC agency, whether it be the IMB or SWBTS or whomever, has the right to determine who is, or is not, a true Southern Baptist.

But with all the new rules, policies and guidelines (i.e. "private prayer language ban,," "baptism in a church that believes in eternal security," "nobody can teach who doesn't believe Jesus died for every man," etc . . .) you begin to wonder if somebody is grabbing for more authority than they have.

And, somebody must speak up to stop them. By the way, it seems the same group is trying to drive the train in every SBC agency. said...


Once again, you misunderstand. I have no desire to "arm-chair quarterback" SWBTS. I have a desire to shut down the control the ideologues who run SWBTS (and their sychopants) attempt to exert over the entire SBC, including the IMB, LIFEWAY, and other cooperative SBC agencies.

I may be falsely branded for life as a wild-eyed liberal, but I will wear the false tag with honor if I succeed in waking up the slumbering giant we call the SBC.

In His Grace,


sameoldstruggles said...

I have been following all of these blogs closely since I have a vested interest. I will attending SWBTS in the fall and I am also at least a four-pointer myself. I have to admit that I have considered elsewhere (Southern, NOBTS, etc.) because I find it abhorrent that the administration would remove Calvinists from teaching positions when so much of "Baptist heritage" includes great men of faith who held to the Doctrines of Grace. Anyway, after much prayer I have decided to continue to go to Southwestern and to not hide my beliefs. I will not be divisive but I will try to set an example that we should be open to all brothers who agree on the fundamentals of our faith. Great post, Wade. Thanks for sharing the life of a great man like J.L. Dagg.

Trey said...

You're welcome Trey.

And, I commend your decision. I would never seek to get students to leave.

I am attempting to create an academic environment where students and faculty are not fearful to express their theological views, even though they may be different from administration's.

In His Grace,



Gone for a day of ministry and GOLF.

Chris Ryan said...


I think it odd that you are excited to hear that the prayer of Jesus that His followers would be unified is seemingly being made vain (by us, not by Him).

Either that, or I guess you think that only one side or the other comprise the church, in which case separation of Calvinists from Arminians would not be a division of the church at all. I would find it presumptuous, though, to believe that nobody but Calvinists were saved (or Arminians for that matter).

Security word: unprops

Wally said...

Mr. Burleson,

Now you have done an did it. Now all those BI fellows will insist that all material, books, articles, papers, etc that bear the name of Dr. John Leadley (J.L.) Dagg be removed from SWBTS Grounds.

Wally the Wino as that Vol fellow calls me.

Ps Dr Phil I need your help on my blog.

Dave Miller said...

Question: (no agenda, just information)

Does Southern hire non-calvinists?

Bob Cleveland said...

It seems evident to me that, if we're not willing to unite around Jesus, with Him as the focal point of our unity, then we're condemned to forever finding more things over which to separate, than to unite.

And I might add that when our differences, and the discussions thereof, lose the love that Jesus mandated we have for our friends (and our enemies, I might add), then we're destined to lose the unity He mandated.

BobF said...

A few questions about Dr. Dagg.

Where did Dr. Dagg receive his formal training? Baptist?

Did Dr. Dagg describe Calvinism as the "Doctrines of Grace" thereby implying other Christians do not believe in God's Grace?

Did he promote unity within the SBC by refraining from using terms like "Doctrines of Grace" so he would not imply a misrepresentation of what other believe?

Christiane said...


Hi, it's me, L's

Don't worry. Be peaceful.
The Body of Christ cannot be divided by the attempts of men. The 'divisions' we see are 'temporal' and of our own defining. They will pass.

The Mystical Body of Christ to which we all belong as Christians remains untouched.

The search for Christian 'unity' is ultimately a gift of the Spirit. The outcome must be left in the hands of God, as we cannot control it.

The guidance of the Holy Spirit discloses the next steps to all who seek unity in good faith.

The surprises of the Spirit achieved through dialogue are undeniable realities for many.

That many are fearful and uncomfortable with any search for unity is a matter for compassionate understanding, not criticism. They are just not ready for it at this time.

In any case, all Christians must be united in the effort
to make sacred His Holy Name
in those places of the world
where He is not known.

I have often thought that
if people keep pointing to Christ as the center of their faith,
then they are not so far away from each other after all.
He IS the unity we seek. L's

ml said...

Paige Patterson Is Really a Closet Calvinist:

You know Wade, I was thinking about this and the irony is that PP's endorsement of the IMB trustees and their narrowing parameters at the IMB actually advances Calvinism. They are advocating that a Calvinistic understanding of salvation, namely eternal security and perseverance of the Saints, is the only legitimate backdrop to baptism. Thus, PP invalidates his own position by endorsing the IMB policies OR he is a secret, closet Calvinist? It’s funny how we hold onto our inconsistencies and then require that others must accept our inconsistencies as truth.

greg.w.h said...

ml wrote:

You know Wade, I was thinking about this and the irony is that PP's endorsement of the IMB trustees and their narrowing parameters at the IMB actually advances Calvinism. They are advocating that a Calvinistic understanding of salvation, namely eternal security and perseverance of the Saints, is the only legitimate backdrop to baptism.

While I understand where you are going with that comment, most Southern Baptists who take that traditionalist viewpoint on soteriology--which kind of strides between the freedom of the Arminian/Pelagian viewpoint and the security of the Calvinist one--explicitly reject Calvinist views. Herschel Hobbs was a very good example of this.

How can they draw so strong of a semantic distinction? Strictly along the lines of soul liberty. They do not believe regeneration is necessary to create the condition where a human makes a reasoned decision for Christ Jesus. They either reject the universality of depravity or they believe that God provides a moment of clarity just short of regeneration.

It is not an unimportant distinction. And the only extent to which they promote a Calvinist perspective is to the extent that Calvinism shares the perspective. Because the doctrines of grace leave very little room for a moment of clarity short of regeneration.

To this extent the traditionalist SB soteriology is actually pretty well-established and unique. And it's not specifically Landmarkist nor "Baptist Identity". You can tell the difference from those two viewpoints by the made up history that goes with them. This traditionalist SB soteriology doesn't rely as much on theology as it does--my opinion--Scottish common sense realism with a smattering of Occam's Razor: Why settle for a more arcane, difficult-to-understand explanation like the full doctrines of grace explanation when a simpler one will do.

That said, as I've stated before I find that the doctrines of grace produce humility in me in that I know because of them that there was absolutely nothing I did to deserve, earn, or cause salvation for me. Even though I am well educated and have many intellectual and spiritual talents, I am convinced that it was first, foremost, and always will be Jesus's specific, pre-ordained, elected choice of me that led to me having a gift of faith that is adequate for me to recognize and choose him. And that if for even a moment since then any portion of my salvation were to have depended on my own continuing, self-originated faith, my salvation would be endangered.

There is no room for arrogance on my part in that statement. Not even in expecting that someone else would agree with me regarding it. But I'm also sensitive to those dear souls that truly believe that God would be manipulating them if he were to have done the exact same thing with them and their choice would have been coerced instead of a free choice. And that's precisely why the traditionalist SB expression of soteriology exists: because there are many saints (yes, actual saints) who are deeply concerned with whether or not God coerced them into belief. I think it's a small price to pay to permit them that viewpoint. I wish that they also understood what a small price to pay it is to permit me mine. I tire of the false accusations of lack of evangelistic fervor, especially when the earliest Baptist missionaries were frequently Particular Baptists.

When we fully understand and embrace our history, we actually establish a much richer understanding of exactly who makes up the precious stones of heaven that are described by John the Revelator. And if we embraced that richness, surely we would embrace each other as more precious than diamonds, silver, and gold, just as we sing that Jesus is, too.

Greg Harvey

Steve said...

Here we are living in a nation where hordes of people are mindless enough to worship the newest political ingenue as a messiah able to heal with a touch and the Christians are still wrangling over soteriology. Am I missing something here?

More importantly, will we be ready when many wake up and realize there is no earthly man worthy of their adoration and begin looking for true answers?

Michael Ruffin said...

Well no, no he wouldn't, first because of the teachings you cite and second because of his assocation with my great and cherished alma mater, Mercer University (B.A. 1978 for me), which the Georgia Baptist Convention, in all its wisdom (my virtual tongue is in my virtual cheek), divorced a few years ago ostensibly because of the University's unorthodoxy but ultimately because of the school's refusal to submit to control by--as opposed to a fraternal relationship with--the state convention. Now, perhaps Dagg would not have approved of all that Mercer now stands for, but still there's that pesky guilt by assocation thing that SBC leaders just love so much.

Doug Mize said...

We all have our hobbies as ministers, yet an almost daily fascination with a seminary president does not seem very flattering, and quite sad. An occasionly rebuke may be necessary but this kind of continual stuff smells of a vendetta. As blogging continues to gain steam I would hope that we would use it for building up and not a constant tearing down. May the world know we are Christians by our Love. I don't write much but this is a constant thought I have as I see blogs like this. I wish all of you well.

Christiane said...

DOUG MIZE wrote this:

'We all have our hobbies as ministers, yet an almost daily fascination with a seminary president does not seem very flattering, and quite sad.'

If your 'seminary president' is considered worthy of presiding over the education of future Southern Baptist pastors:
then one may fairly examine
what is truly valued as Christian by Southern Baptists,
as it is revealed in this 'seminary president's treatment of seventy-seven missionaries and Dr. Klouda.

Can this treatment be explained to the larger Christian community in ANY way that upholds Christ's laws of charity and mercy?

Your 'seminary president' has become an icon for you.
But an icon of what? Of what?

'Quite sad' sounds so lame.
Where was your fire and your passion for the laws of Christ?

Such a pitiful turning away was seen, when no mercy was shown to these truly innocent people. It is beyond comprehension. L's

Gereja said...

1Jn2:2 teaches Christ died for the sins of believers and the sins of the whole world as is Jn 3:16. Unless the world is twisted by reading Bezae's election and predestination to say the world is the elect then you can say to all "Christ paid for all your sin on the Cross." Now what? Only believe. It is consisten with grace but not consistent with TULIP.

Lu Mo Nyet

WatchingHISstory said...


I experienced almost 14 years, wonderful years, in Europe working with American servicemen and their families.

I was a civilian pastor and made it a point to support the military chapels on base or post. I was blessed to know so many fine chaplains of so many denominations. But being a pentecostal and convincing them I was not there to invade their ministries was an ongoing task due to the turn-over of overseas tours.

The hardest group to work with were the Southern Baptist. Not only did I have a hard time with them I witnessed other chaplains having a hard time with them.

My current theological setting has been ironed out of almost 30 years pastoring and 50 years of Christian faith.

I have no desire to divide the SBC over anthing. However I have no fear of being divisive because of my views. I am presently enjoying the best years of my life. No heirarchy, no obligations, no one to coerce me into being nice. I am truly good for nothing!

My wife and I are gainfully employed, not wealthy at all, own a home with a little equity etc.

I have no idea what you mean by this: "In fact, I'll go further, the most gracious people on the planet ought to be the ones, like you, who understand - theologically - pure grace."

I have a unique view of grace and understand it theologically (to the degree that God allows one to understand) One day when we meet, and we will, you will find me to be a very gracious person. One of the things that I enjoy most about myself is the favor God supernaturally grants me with people. This is a pratical benefit of my Calvinism and my understanding of grace. So you are correct about me if you meant your statement for good.

However if it was a coercision to make me behave it won't work. I am truly good for nothing! ;)

WatchingHISstory said...

Chris Ryan

Luke 12:49-53 I am come to send fire on the earth; and what will I, if it be already kindled?
But I have a baptism to be baptized with; and how am I straitened till it be accomplished!
Suppose ye that I am come to give peace on earth? I tell you, Nay; but rather division:
For from henceforth there shall be five in one house divided, three against two, and two against three. The father shall be divided against the son, and the son against the father; the mother against the daughter, and the daughter against the mother; the mother in law against her daughter in law, and the daughter in law against her mother in law.

Gereja said...

Long history of SBC does not in of itself affirms truthfulness of SBC doctrines. Catholic church's almost 2000 years doctrine of the infallibility of the pope does not prove the biblicality of papism. So it is mute to quote Dagg's Calvinism to prove Patterson's alleged error of universal atonement. The point is Scripture corrects SBC's history and Dagg's teaching and NOT Dagg's above that of Patterson's. Both men must be evaluated based on Scripture.

1Jn2:2 can't teach both limited and universal atonement. You must read limited atonement from somewhere else but NOT from the text and context of 1Jn2 as well as other texts.

However revered Dagg is remember that even the apostle Peter was corrected by Paul (Gal 2).

The issue is NOT history or the character of the respective individual but whether the respective theories [doctrines] are scriptural.

Lu Mo Nyet

Chris Ryan said...


It is one thing to divide the world into the communities of believers and non-believers. It is entirely different to divide the believing body of Christ, which Christ prayed would be unified.

oc said...

Christiane, L's,

It's not about love, grace, mercy, and compassion anymore. It's all about being right. It's all about pride. Having the right systematic theology. And the scary thing is that the idea is so close to the world's idea of right that it should make a disciple run.

Just sayin'.

WatchingHISstory said...


Was Christ praying for the unity of Calvinist and Arminians?

Is there unity among monergist and synergist?

Divided someone stands united we all fall down!

I believe that Christ is praying for unity of true believers.

WatchingHISstory said...


Is love, grace, mercy, and compassion the result of right or wrong systematic theology?

Isn't love, grace, mercy, and compassion the fruit of right theology?

If you have no theology will you then have love, grace, mercy, and compassion?

your good friend

WatchingHISstory said...

The need of the hour for today’s ministry is believing scholarship joined with earnest spirituality, the one springing from the other as fruit from the root. The need is biblical doctrine, so understood and felt, that it sets men on fire.-Spurgeon

oc said...

The result of love,grace, mercy, compassion does not come from any theological system. Those things are the result of Jesus. And it certainly is personal, whether you like it or not. Once you get a grip on that, being "right" doesn't matter anymore. I no longer have to win, I don't have to win, Charles. It's not my battle, Charles. It's His. Jesus wins.

WatchingHISstory said...


couldn't agree with you more


Anonymous said...

"Is love, grace, mercy, and compassion the result of right or wrong systematic theology?"


I am not sure one can have a "right" or "wrong" Systematic Theology. ST is what it is--a logic division of doctrines for the purpose study. One can have a right or wrong view of certain doctrines contained in ST or a division thereof. One can also believe that a systematic appoach to Scripture is "man's" way and not God's--and they of course would be foolish. :)


Jeff said...

And how do we grow in those things....It is not entirely a subjective work, but an objective reality of God's work thur His Word.

How do we know what Love is?

God has chosen to teach us those things thru His Word.

We learn from His Word about those things, thus we call it doctrine or theology which is simply thinking about God.

Unknown said...

Dave Miller,

Yes, Southern hires non-Calvinists.

Anonymous said...

I like to read the give an take of vigorous discussions of Calvinist vs non-Calvinist views, but the idea that opinions on this would be used to decide who to employ (as I believe Dr. Patterson clearly stated) is unfortunate. Can anyone who believes strongly one way or the other re: the 5 points explain to me why 400 years of debate among some of the smartest and most spiritual people in the world have not settled this? I can see no other answer than that God purposely made sure that scripture could not definitively prove either position. I don't pretend to know why he did that, but maybe it was to show us that, like Paul, we only understand in part and have no reason to be proud and arrogant.

John Adams was not a Christian, and the reason he gave was that he had seen such hate of "Christians" toward other Christians because of disagreements about TULIP. We should be careful not to repeat such performances. This should be like other issues for which there are equally defensible but different interpretations of scripture: it is fine to believe passionately one way or the other; it is not fine to make this a criterion for fellowship and cooperation.

Christiane said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Christiane said...

What offends God more:

that we do not get our doctrinal theology correct ?

or that the 'wounded' in our path suffer from kindness unknown ?

Chris Ryan said...


Okay, I see. If there is none but the Calvinist who are true believers then I guess your prayers for division are in accordance with Jesus' prayers.

I do not agree with you that all true Christians are Calvinists, but I guess I'm not a true Christian so I'm not really entitled to that opinion.

Still, I pray that God continues to bless you and show you His grace as you continue to live in a relationship with Him. Whether or not God will be listening to that prayer is an entirely different matter...

Security word: bugnote
I've been getting some good ones lately

Chris Ryan said...


It is a good, even necessary thought.

Here is how I respond. Both matter because any theology that tramples the wounded cannot be of God. Nor does helping the wounded truly count as helpful unless it is done with the hope, love, and faith that are only accomplished by right doctrine. Both require the other to be of any consequence.

Gereja said...

Is it necessary to be a calvinist? That is a system started in 16th century. Was the apostle Paul or John calvinists? Southern Baptists don't agree with catholicism but wanting to be uniform under calvinim? Why not biblicism?

Lu Mo Nyet

Ramesh said...

Dr. Tom Ascol: Reflections on the dust-up over Calvinism at SWBTS
This will certainly not be the last opportunity for Southern Baptists to get up-in-arms over reports about questionable plans or actions of one of our agencies or institutions. Hopefully, we will learn from last week's experiences and will determine to respond by speaking accurately, plainly, truthfully and lovingly about any legitimate concerns that arise. The days when heads of our agencies could take actions and expect not to be questioned publicly about them are over. And that's a good thing.

We do not have to agree on every jot and tittle to live together harmoniously in the SBC family, but we do have to remember that loyalty to Christ trumps loyalty to any "cause" or party. Our Lord calls us to honor Him in speech and conduct, regardless of how strongly we may disagree with those whom we address.

Darrin said...
'loyalty to Christ trumps loyalty to any "cause" or party'

Just wondering whether upholding the doctrines of grace is a "cause" or part of our loyalty to Christ.

4:19 PM, FEBRUARY 12, 2009

Tom said...
Heath: Amen.


I think it can become a "cause" rather than merely an expression of loyalty to Christ. Where that happens, the doctrines of grace tend to be espoused without much regard for the grace of the doctrines--and that is a travesty.

6:32 PM, FEBRUARY 12, 2009

Tom said...

Thanks for your comments. I didn't intend to "tie Baptist Identity [or anyone else, for that matter] to anti-Calvinism." What I asserted is that some in that group are opposed to the efforts to unite across the Calvinism divide on the basis of gospel unity.

The trustees elected Dr. Patterson to lead SWBTS and I think it is only reasonable to expect that his vision for theological education should shape the school at every level, including the faculty. So, your hypothetical description of what SWBTS's vision could be seems reasonable to me. I might not like it, but I would not suggest that such an approach is illegitimate.

Since we are speaking hypothetically here, would it seem reasonable to you for administrators of a seminary whose confessional basis is the BF&M to individually question long-standing, faculty members (who have signed the BF&M) about their local church affiliation and soteriological convictions? Would it be reasonable for such administrators to threaten the termination of established faculty if they did not use in their evangelistic efforts, language that is found in neither the Bible or the BF&M?

I have no way of knowing if this has actually happened in any of our seminaries, but if it were to happen, I, for one, would find it unacceptable.

I am increasingly hopeful that the future SBC belongs to those who are willing to unite over sincere commitment to the gospel and treat fellow believers with respect and honesty. That certainly includes refusing to mischaracterize those with whom we disagree.

Thanks again, for your comments.

6:29 PM, FEBRUARY 12, 2009

Sorry, permalinks for comments at Founders Ministries Blog are not setup properly for hyper linking or they are not working well.

Dave Miller said...


Thank you for answering my question.

Christiane said...


We 'know' only in part . . .

A reminder that our poor human understanding of complex theological doctrines
does not outweigh a single
act of Christian charity:

1 Corinthians 13

1 If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.

2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.

3 If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.

4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.

5 It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.

6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.

7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

8 Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.

9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part,

10 but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears.

11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me.

12 Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

I once saw a friend give a drink of water to a very ill, severely handicapped child. She did it with great love and great patience. Because of his difficulties, it took almost half an hour.
I know that I was seeing something sacred taking place there. I don't expect anyone else to understand this. I'm not sure I understand it myself. Love, L's

Anonymous said...


I think your last post was spot on. I also like your definition of theology:

"Thinking about God."

Everyone on the planet who has ever lived to consciousness has a theology. We are by nature, all theologians. Even Richard Dawkins has a theology. He has doctrinal presuppositions which shape his epistemology. Even the love child in the First Church of Latte Lane has a theology rooted deeply in the doctrines to which he holds dear. We all think about God from one of several perspectives. If we know God from Scripture alone then it stands to reason that the more we know about Scripture, the more we know about the characteristics of God--including what God has revealed to be righteous and unrighteous. So, if I say that knowledge of God does not come through feelings, emotions, or experience, some of you will flip your rocker and bash the biblical theologian who seeks to know better the God they serve through biblical knowledge illuminated by the Spirit of God.

Someone asked if it was necessary to be a Calvinist. Obviously not be saved, but the term Calvinist is generally applied to one who affirms the doctrines of grace--5 points of soteriology, or the study of the grace that saves. But a simple conversion is the not our goal—not our aim—but to be more like Christ as we unleash the faith He has placed within us by His sovereign grace. This process of sanctification is by the power of God’s Word and the effectiveness of the Spirit of God to accomplish His will in us. So…

As to Total Depravity? Yes, one needs to understand this. One needs to understand that their nature and not their sins separate them from God and damn them to spiritual death and eternal torment.

As to Unconditional Election? Yes, one needs to know that they are chosen in Christ apart from anything that they do, have done, or will do. That our salvation is made possible by grace alone through faith alone in Jesus Christ alone.

As to Limited or particular atonement? Yes, one needs to know that while the call is universal and while the blood is sufficient for all to have salvation, that many will still perish for the command in Scripture to follow Christ is a passive imperative and only that power to come to life comes from the blood of Christ given to those whom the Father has given the Son. All else will perish in their unbelief.

As to irresistible grace? Yes. One needs to know that that which God purposes to do will ALWAYS come to fruition. God has not simply "lobbed out" His grace to the spiritually dead hoping by chance that some "chose Him."

As for Perseverance? Yes. One need to know that a God who has called them will be faith to complete in them that which He began and that He will keep them to the end.

So there you have it. It IS necessary to be a Calvinist. Jesus was a Calvinist. Paul and John were Calvinists. St. Augustine was a Calvinist. And by the way, Jesus, Paul, John, and Augustine were all Theologians and Doctors of the Church. They studied Scripture WAY more than they taught and proclaimed it. But when they did they proclaimed the truth of the Kingdom. They compelled the lost to come to the Kingdom. They were not church builders--they were Kingdom builders. They were Calvinists who believed in piety and love. They revered the very Breath of God. In fact, their theology dictated their every though and action.


***This comment brought to you by the HCS Illustrated Study Bible on sale Monday at LifeWay Christian Stores for the low price of only $10.00 in leather-bound edition (reg. 59.99) What a STEAL!!!!!

Anonymous said...


I wonder if you would care to mix a bit of theology with your admirable desire to help the poor and afflicted. Do we feed, cloth, shelter those in need because:

a. The Bible says to
b. Jesus commands us to (Obedience)
c. Peter told Paul to
d. Because we care for the poor
e. To see humanity elevated from poverty and sickness
f. To give glory to Jesus
g. As an opportunity to share the Gospel
I. To grow the Kingdom
J. As a ministry opportunity
k. Because we care for their soul
l. because of love
m. to be seen by men

Can you pick your top 5 and place them in order of importance to you? Add some if I missed YOUR motivation. This is a most serious request because I have a feeling you will have a most serious response. And I am curious.


Jeff said...

Kevin, Its not my definition. I got it from Thinking About God, by Fisher Humphries.

Anonymous said...

Dave: I have a question. Should we divide up into who believes what? In other words should Calvinists be in one church or seminary and non-Calvinists in another? Or those who believe in a certain eschatology in one church or seminary? And is that really unity?

I am not saying you believe this, but I am sincerely asking.

Anonymous said...

Dave: Do you think Calvinists and non-Calvinists, or those who differ in other parts of theology can co-exist on the same campus or church?

chadwick said...

(Spoken with a YODA voice)"If God would not have chosen many, in heaven there would not be any!"

ezekiel said...


I need a little help with irresistable grace. My question is sincere.

I think I have worked out the limited atonement part (my response to Genembrideges over at my blog).

But I am really struggling with irrestiable grace. It seems to me that Israel (OT Israel) resisted His grace on may levels and practically every time they had the chance.

Take for instance Israel (the ten tribes seperated from Judah, worshipping in Samaria).

In 1 Kings 17-22? we have king Ahab ruling over them. We can all agree that he made many poor choices.

We read here in 1 Kings a story that has God's grace all over it. His mercy too. He sent Elijah to warn Ahab, He sent Elijah to kill the prophet of Baal and He fought for Israel against Ben-Hadad against what looked to be insurmountable odds.

And still Ahab insisted on doing evil.

1Ki 21:20 And Ahab said to Elijah, Have you found me, O my enemy? And he answered, I have found you, because you have sold yourself to do evil in the sight of the Lord.

Apparently, God had enough then and Elijah tells Ahab this.

1Ki 21:21 See [says the Lord], I will bring evil on you and utterly sweep away and cut off from Ahab every male, bond and free,

But then Ahab humbled himself. It doesn't say that God humbled Ahab, it says Ahab humbled himself. Ahab had already proven that he was completely capable of doing evil, not only capable but willing.

We can see this sort of testing all over the OT. Saul, Jereboam all resisted God's grace. Solomon resisted His grace.

If the nation of Israel and many of it's leaders resisted His grace, what makes us different? Has God changed? said...


I much prefer the phrase "effectual grace." Irrestistable has the connotation of being taken by force - you can't resist it. But those whom God redeems freely and willingly choose to give their lives to Christ. They are not forced.

But why do they choose? Because they have been overwhelmed with God's love, they have been recepients of the gifts of God's gace, and the love of God gives them this ability to see the beauty of Christ for themselves.

So, it is true that from the human persepective people resist God. But from the divine perspective, when in the day of God's power He reveals the glory of Christ to a hard heart that has been softened, that sinner is delivered by the effectual grace of God.

The best way I know to illustrate this effectual, personal, and eternal love of God for His people is the story of Hosea and Gomer. Hosea pursued Gomer when she was unlovely, Hosea pursued Gomer when she spurned Him, Hosea's love for Gomer eventually won over Gomer.

That is precisely what God does for His people. He will always overcome us with His love.

In His Grace,


Chris Ryan said...


I guess that makes you a TULEP man. Does that mean you could work at SBWTS no problem?

Chris Ryan said...

Nevermind, it's the "L" that is the major problem, not the "I." said...



Unknown said...

I'm baaaaaaack....(stop groaning! I can hear you from here :o)

A sincere thank you to Thy Peace who gave instructions on doing the profile thingie so we could post here. I am just confused as to why my yahoo account would not work?

Debbie asked:

Dave: I have a question. Should we divide up into who believes what? In other words should Calvinists be in one church or seminary and non-Calvinists in another? Or those who believe in a certain eschatology in one church or seminary? And is that really unity?

Good question, Debbie. I see this from another angle. The scholarship at our seminaries is suffering because of this separatism. It has now become, 'we are right and you are wrong' instead of serious study. I include SBTS in this, too. I know because it is a standard question to newcomers: Are you a Calvinist? It has become more indoctrination than academic study of the Word.

While I believe in the DofG, I am not a big fan of Calvin (his baby baptizing, state church with magistrates, etc) and sure wish we would stop throwing his name around. I mean, if he was so brilliant a theologian, why wasn't he hiding in caves with the Ana Baptists because of believer's baptism and the state church full of the unregenerate? I just do not understand all the Calvin worship. I hear his name more than Christ from the reformed camp.

Christiane said...


It's me, L's

Your 'clarification' exercise is very thought-provoking. That's the problem. I have trouble 'thinking' and have a tendency to react differently in matters of faith.

For example, I have literally
taken these words from St. Matthew's Gospel into my heart:

"35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in,

36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.'

37 Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink?

38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you?

39When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?'

40"The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'

So serving His brothers and serving Christ is the SAME.
That makes it a very great honor indeed to be of service to those who need us. And how could we have known this, but that it was first written on our hearts by God and then affirmed by Christ Himself.

As for motivation, imagine Christ on the cross, saying 'I thirst', and imagine that you are able to give Him water.
You wouldn't think about what you were going to get out of it, no. You do it for love of Him.

You would have done anything to spare His suffering, as we all would have done.

Christians don't have to have any motivation to serve others.
If they take Christ's words in the book of Matthew literally, Christians actually have to be 'held back'.

Admitting Christ's words into our hearts causes His words to become part of our very nature.

He changes us.

Love, L's

P.S. I am going to copy your exercise (the list of ten motivations' and take time to 'THINK'. I think so slowly.)
Bear with me. :)

ART PIERCE said...

Chris Ryan said...
I guess that makes you a TULEP man.
You did not answer Chris question.

Some one said to me. I believe Wade is a five point Calvinist?

I told them that I would ask You?

Gereja said...

Depravity is being twisted by calvinists to mean INABILITY to believe the Gospel. Acts 16:31 commands "believe" the Lord Jesus Christ. Believe is IMPERATIVE mood. According to grammarian Dana/Mantey imperative is from WILL to WILL.

Irresistible grace posits INABILITY to respond to the Gospel, which is UNSCRIPTURAL. Hence calvinists such as Sproul, etc theorize that the elected sinners MUST BE BORN AGAIN/SAVED AND GIVEN FAITH in order to believe. In essence calvinists such as Sproul categorically saying NOT BELIEVE IN ORDER TO BE SAVED. But on the contrary [against the order of Scripture] that THE ELECT MUST BE SAVED IN ORDER TO BELIEVE.

Calvinism is not biblical on these points.

Jeff said...

Here's the way I see:

Do I love wife because I want too? Yes, I freely love her.

Yet on the other hand.

Her beauty and other virtues have captured my soul, therefore, I can't help but love her.

Chris Ryan said...


He more than answered the question in an earlier post. He said that he prerered the word "effectual" to "irresistable" while describing the same phenomenon. He thought that effectual was a better term to describe what is meant by irresistable. We're parsing semanitics, not switching doctrines.

Alan Paul said...


I'm not L's, but you can't really do anything well for long unless you have passion for what you're doing. You can certainly go through the motions - but there's very little quality or meaning in your service to the poor - and it won't last. Therefore I would put "because I care for the poor" at the top and all the rest can fall after that in any order you choose.

Now the issue is, do I really care for the poor? Therein lies the question for all of us to answer not only in word, but more meaningfully, in deed. Our deeds in this area tell those around us - and God - whether or not we care about the poor and by extension, whether we care about what He commands in this area - whether it is at the top, near the top or at the bottom of your list.

Gereja said...

You have to distinguish between agape love and phileo love. Love as noble principle = agape is the one for love your enemies. No personal relationship. You give money for Aids in Africa = no personal relationship and not for fame or blessing. Just love and give because the love of God has been poured into our hearts (Rm 5:5,8).

With wife you have attachment affectionate emotional love = philia. You love the OBJECT. It is philia. To agape it is not about the object but the nobility of the SUBJECT. It is NOT in human sinful nature to love enemies. To love enemies is not emotional affectional attachment relationship. It is non personal. It is a priciple to solve and resolve problems with enemies, wife, friends, etc. God the Holy Spirit give the ability to do it (2Cor5:14).

Gereja said...

What you all think of Calvin on predestination in the following quotes? Calvin himself said it is a "horrible decree":

“Those therefore whom God passes by he reprobates, and that for no other cause but because he is pleased to exclude them...” (Institutes, III, xxiii, 1)

“...the divine will... is itself, and justly ought to be, the cause of all that exists ... God, whose pleasure it is to inflict punishment ... no other cause can be adduced... than the secret counsel of God...” (Institutes III, xxiii, 4)

“If we cannot assign any reason for his bestowing mercy on his people, but just that it so pleases him, neither can we have any reason for his reprobating others but his will. When God is said to visit in mercy or harden whom he will, men are reminded that they are not to seek for any cause beyond his will.” (Institutes, III, xxii, 11)

“I... ask how it is that the fall of Adam involves so many nations with their infant children in eternal death without remedy unless it so seemed meet with God [sic]? ... The decree, I admit, is dreadful; and yet it is impossible to deny that God foreknew what the end of man was to be before he made him, and foreknew, because he had so ordained by his decree... God not only foresaw the fall of the first man, and in him the ruin of his posterity; but also at his own pleasure arranged it.” (Institutes, III, xxiii, 7)

“Paul teaches us that the ruin of the wicked is not only foreseen by the Lord, but also ordained by his counsel and his will... not only the destruction of the wicked is foreknown, but that the wicked themselves have been created for this very end -- that they may perish” (Commentaries Romans 9:18)

“... he arranges all things by his sovereign counsel in such a way that individuals are born, who are doomed from the womb to certain death, and are to glorify him by their destruction...God ... arranges and disposes of them at his pleasure... all events take place by his sovereign appointment” (Institutes III, xxiii, 6)

“...each has been created for one or other of these ends, [therefore] we say that he has been predestined to life or to death” (Institutes III, xxi, 5)

Anonymous said...

Dr Dragg is quoted as saying:
“The supposition that Christ bore the sins of the whole human race is attended with much difficulty.”

To which Wade says:
“Thus, Dr. Dagg would never say to every single human being "Christ died for your sins," because he didn't believe Christ died for every single human being.”

And then Wade says:
“I read the incredibly precise and biblically saturated doctrine of grace articulated by Dr. Dagg and am blessed.”

My goodness. Can it be? Remarkably to me, I’m with Paige on this one.

A seminary should be identified with the premise upon which it bases its theological teachings, i.e., priority mission emphasis, Calvinist position, role of women in ministry, etc., so as to allow this to be known to prospective students. Al Mohler’s Southern Seminary has a very pro-Wade position relating to Calvinism. Southwestern is apparently very pro-Paige position. Seems fair to me.

We all feel strongly about the position we have on this issue of Christ’s atoning power and who has access to it. It’s a basic premise of the Gospel so I can understand how Brother Paige is passionate about his position and why he believes he is responsible to protect the theological teaching at the seminary with which he has been given responsibility.

Paige, justifiably I believe, apparently sees the selected atonement position of Dragg and Wade and others with a like-mind as leading to a distortion of God’s intended pre-vision for the hope of salvation of ALL MANKIND through the crucifixion of Christ. Those of us who have the same position as Paige believe that God opened the door to the Kingdom of God to ALL MANKIND who apply their given free will to submit to the Lordship of Christ.

It’s amazing to me that some see the crucifixion of Christ as being less than God’s universal offer of the gift of eternal life!

To interpret Scripture to say that God overrides the free will of man and chooses who will go to heaven and who will go to hell diminishes the important characteristic of the righteousness of God.

He put the tree in the Garden, he warned Adam, He gave Adam the choice, He knew Adam would fail, but He did not make Adam sin against God. He is not a God who would punish people for doing something that they have no control over. It seems totally irrational to come to that conclusion.

In reference to those who lived before Christ, they were saved by His crucifixion by their trusting in the one, true God from whom payment for their sins would be made in Christ’s death. They believed and followed the God that announced in Genesis 3 that a Savior-Redeemer was coming.

I do believe I am part of the “elect” because I CHOSE to accept Christ. I do believe that it was “PREDESTINED” that ALL of those who submit to Christ would be considered as part of the “elect”. I do believe that the Holy Spirit convicts ALL sinners of their sins but not all submit to His voice. I do believe Scripture when it says that we are saved by faith. Each person determines for himself what he will put his faith in. Everyone can join the elect if they choose to accept the crucified Christ as their Redeemer and Lord.

How can a born again believer in Christ with the Holy Spirit of God living in them not say to every lost person, “Jesus Christ died for you! But you must make the decision to submit to His Lordship (faith) to be born again (receive the eternal presence of His Holy Spirit).”?

I love ya’ man, but somebody is wrong on this one. Both of us cannot be right. Let’s pray hard that one of us will see the light of truth and God’s intention.

Junkster said...

I think it would help a lot of folks to understand that there is a difference, biblically speaking, between regeneration and conversion. Both are aspects of salvation, but there is a logical sequence of these aspects.

Conversion is what most refer to as "being saved", which happens when they make the personal choice to repent and believe in Christ. But regeneration, or being "born again", precedes all these things.

The biblical ordo salutis is:
Election / predestination

It clears a lot up when one understands that the biblical terms "born again" and "saved" are not exactly synonyms.

Jeff said...

You missed the point of the illustration about love. Eph 5:25 Husbands are commanded to agape their wives as Christ agape them.

Your distinction is to broad. Agape maybe a duty, but it is a passionate duty with emotion.

Junkster said...

RRR said...
It seems totally irrational to come to that conclusion.

I used to think this way, also. But someone challenged me as to whether I was willing to accept and trust the teachings of Scripture and all that it implies whether it appealed to my personal resoning or not and whether I liked it or not. I was only able to accept the truths of the Doctrines of Grave once I was willing to humble myself to the point of saying, "Lord, I will believe whatever You say, even if it flies in the face of my own understanding and even if it feels offensive to my own sensibilities".

oc said...

Could it ever be that the "regeneration" and "conversion" come so quickly together that they may seem as one?

Dismal Deacon said...

Wonder if BH Carroll would be able to teach at SWBTS?


Dismal Deacon said...

" Frank Gantz said...
Dave Miller,

Yes, Southern hires non-Calvinists"

I don't understand how a non-Calvinist could agree to the Abstract. What am I missing?


Junkster said...

Howdy, Bro. OC,
The "order" of the various aspects of salvation is a matter of what is requisite of what, not necessarily a matter of sequence in time. The normal human experience is for regeneration to result in immediate repentance and faith and conversion to be the immediate result. In most, if not all, instances, it is all so instantaneous as to be essentially simultaneous. But it is all initiated by God in eternity (election) as well as in time (regeneration). As Jonah said, "Salvation is of the Lord." He must have been a Calvinist. And the fish must have been an Arminian, as, upon Jonah saying those words, it immediately threw up, and spit Jonah out. :)

Christiane said...


sometimes called
"The Missionaries' Psalm"

"God be merciful unto us, and bless us :
and shew us the light of His countenance, and be merciful unto us :

2 That Thy way may be known upon earth :
Thy saving health among
all nations.

3 Let the people praise Thee, O God :

yea, let all the people praise Thee.

4 O let the nations rejoice and be glad :
for Thou shalt judge the folk righteously,
and govern the nations upon earth.

5 Let the people praise Thee, O God :
yea, let all the people praise Thee.

6 Then shall the earth bring forth her increase :
and God, even our own God, shall give us His blessing.

7 God shall bless us :
and all the ends of the world shall fear Him "

Holy Sabbath begins soon with quiet prayer and peaceful reflection.

This psalm 67
is reflective of God's love for the whole of His Creation and all the life contained therein.

Sabbath peace to everyone. :)
Love, L's

WatchingHISstory said...

"There is nothing wrong with being an amateur theologian or a professional theologian, but there is everything wrong about being an ignorant or sloppy theologian." -Basic Theology, Charles C. Ryrie

Some people think that all theology is man made. OC says: "The result of love,grace, mercy, compassion does not come from any theological system. Those things are the result of Jesus. And it certainly is personal, whether you like it or not. Once you get a grip on that, being "right" doesn't matter anymore."

This is sentimental theology, "sloppy agape." The heart is deceitful, probably more so than the rational mind. If any theology is wrong it will be that which proceeds from the hearts of silliness, people who belittle systematic theology. The cults are seeking silly people to prey on them and lead them astray.

The best defense against bad theology is good theology. But people are too lazy to spend time contemplating what good theology is. Come let us reason together.

oc said...

Thanks Junk.
I think I know what you are saying.
Except I want to know if God is limited to an order. And also since it does seem instantaneous, why isn't it?

And Jonah was foremost a Baptist.
Reluctant to witness without a cooperative program.

WatchingHISstory said...

Chris Ryan said...

"Okay, I see. If there is none but the Calvinist who are true believers then I guess your prayers for division are in accordance with Jesus' prayers."

Friend, where did I say that none but Calvinist are true believers?

Calvinism is a system of theology, it is a theory of Biblical interpretation, named (more like nick-named) after John Calvin (certainly not the worship of John Calvin) Evolution and creationism are theories of interpretations of how life came to be. Dispensationalism is a theory of Biblical interpretation. Biblicism is a theory of interpretation. Even if you say that you just believe the Bible that is a theory. God has revealed the Word to us but we are captive to interpretations. We see thru a glass darkly. We see in part.

I have the personal conviction that Calvinism is far superior to Arminianism and hypo-Calvinism.

Chris said: "Still, I pray that God continues to bless you and show you His grace as you continue to live in a relationship with Him. Whether or not God will be listening to that prayer is an entirely different matter..."

seriously, did you mean this? Would I be so stupid or ignorant to question whether God will listen to your prayer. Allow me to use an expletive to emphasize my point: HELL no!

Chris, God hears and answers prayers.

Anonymous said...

"Dispensationalism is a theory of Biblical interpretation."

It's also the slime infested rat poop underneath the sludge at the bottom of the garbage heap. Not to mention antiemetic, racist, and came on the scene about the same time as Darwin's survival of the fittest theories--in fact it has been argued that is was birthed from Darwinism. Not that Covenant Theology does not have its potential and apparent flaws, which is why I sit happily in the middle with my coffee, reading glasses and pen. :)

Btw, to those trying to Greek themselves out of Calvinism, the "imperative" does not always presuppose ability. Paul makes good use of the active and passive imperatives in Ephesians 4 and changes to the active only after making it clear that our change comes from the light of Christ. Again, the active imperative found elsewhere in reference to the universal call or the call of all believes to be holy, assumes the power will come from God. As to our dear friends Dana and Mantey, here is what they say of the imperative mood: “The imperative mood is the mood of command or entreaty—the mood of volition…it expresses neither probability nor possibility, but only intention, and is therefore, the furthest removed from reality.” (Dana and Mantey, Manual Grammar, p. 174)

L's, People's motivations are a mixed bag. But here is my thought. The motivation for anything we do as believers must come out of an overwhelming love for our Lord which produces obedience and Christ-like character. Any other motivation (while still potentially resulting in good works) is wrong. "If it feels good do it" is not just for sex and drugs. It can be for a great many humanitarian activities. But Christ did not die to make me a humanitarian, but a Christian.

My love for Him is my motivation.



oc said...

I actually have a degree in the very thing you make fun of me about. So no, I do not belittle systematic theology.

I'm just saying that the relationship is more important than any system. And it's high time people of God started acting like it.

WatchingHISstory said...

Wade Burleson said...

I much prefer the phrase "effectual grace." Irrestistable has the connotation of being taken by force - you can't resist it. But those whom God redeems freely and willingly choose to give their lives to Christ. They are not forced.

But why do they choose? Because they have been overwhelmed with God's love, they have been recepients of the gifts of God's gace, and the love of God gives them this ability to see the beauty of Christ for themselves."

Wade, this explains your "ambivolent" feelings toward others about the atonement. You reject irresistible grace as drawing for "effectual grace", wooing. You have effectual grace as prevenient grace or enabling grace that makes the sinner capable of making a choice. This is a form of Wesleyanism not Calvinism at all.

Your grace is only effectual if the sinner with his enablement chooses Christ. Your grace is conditional grace. Calvinist grace is effectual and therefore not resistible. The sinner is drawn not wooed to Christ. I thank God He did not offer me a choice, He knew I would resist and indeed I would have, absolutely. I was reborn by the choice of the heavenly Father. I repented of my sins and was baptized in a swimming pool at a youthcamp in Chattanooga, Tennessee. I was taken captive by grace.

Now about Hosea and Gomer. For petes' sake, Wade, Gomer was not a sinner but a covenanted adulterous wife of Hosea. He wooed her back. Is not God wooing sinful and apostate believers back to himself today?

He is regenerating sinners and wooing believers. He has his hands full doesn't he?

Doesn't this explain your ambivalence? You sure don't want them teaching irresistible grace at SWBTS do you?

WatchingHISstory said...


couldn't agree with you more


WatchingHISstory said...


It appears that you and I are the only ones living like it is a relationship rather than a system!

WatchingHISstory said...


I could not find your 'ordo salutis' in the Bible but I did find it at


Anonymous said...


I say this with love and from the bottom of my heart. Your explaination of Calvinism makes me want to go back in time and hang the man just to shut you up. :)

You did not listen to a thing Wade said. You are wrangling over semantical issues while in the end you and Wade (and myself) likely completely agree. But you have to go and spew vulgarity like calling us Wesleyan. My view, nor the view that Wade expressed is Wesleyan. Nor does it allow for "free will" or "agency"; BFM2K). Which btw I do not believe has ever existed in mankind--EVER!

Also, you should know from reading Wade's blog, that threatening to pull his Calvinist Card is hardly a threat to him. I on the other hand have setting in front of me on my desk a John Calvin bobble head doll. Yes seriously.

We must affirm, logically, that a choice takes place in the will of man. You cheapen the grace of God when you assume that when God gives this grace to even the most nastiest of sinners, that they are not thouroughly convinced of the right choice to make. It is not divine puppeteering. It is divine wooing. But you are right in that wooing continues. It is called sanctification.

He who wooed me will woo me till death and for eternity. Suffice to say there are some He cares not to woo. It is by His own good pleasure that He purposes to woo those whom He will woo and not woo those whom He will not woo.

Please don't call me a Wesleyan. It hurts my feelings.


Anonymous said...


In your email discussion with Junk, as him if he thinks there can be some significant time between regeneration and conversion. I am of the opinion that this is key possibility. That the sin nature of man does in fact try to "resist" the grace of God for a time or for a season, but that in the end of such a time or season, God's grace always wins.

I have no biblical support for this postulation. Only seemingly observable evidence. But that begs the question as how one observes regeneration...especially when not accompanied by immediate conversion.

I hope you find all the answers you seek.

Soteriology ought to be the stuff of sweet devotion to the saints.


oc said...

that was the heart of my question.
In my personal experience, I felt no lag time between regeneration and conversion. So much so, that I never even considered any regenerative time. And I still have a problem with it, I'm clost to considering the 'regeneration' time a man made unnecessary step needed to justify a systematic theology.
I'm convinced that regeneration and conversion happened all at one time for me.

Rex Ray said...

Bob Cleveland,
You said: “if we're not willing to unite around Jesus, with Him as the focal point of our unity, then we're condemned to forever finding more things over which to separate, than to unite.”

All sides claim to unite around Jesus, but before the C/R took over the glue that held Baptists together was MISSIONS.

Now that glue has been changed to DOCTRINE as shown by Jim Richards, Vice President of the SBC. He said:

“Theological agreement will be the first foundation of the new Convention. Those who depart theologically will be identified and called to repent. To the foes of SBTC, we say, we’re not in competition with you, but we’ve been called to contrast you.” (Baptist Standard 11-18-98)

Rex Ray said...

You said, “It's not about love, grace, mercy, and compassion anymore. It's all about being right. It's all about pride. Having the right systematic theology. And the scary thing is that the idea is so close to the world's idea of right that it should make a disciple run.”

Preach on Brother…how much satisfied pride is there in making people bow to their man-made paper, the BFM 2000?

I don’t blame Jerry Ranking for making missionaries sign the 2000. He made them sign it because if he didn’t, ‘destruction’ of the IMB was going to be worse than 9-11. At least that’s what he said.

The destruction was not going to come from the trustees. It was coming from the top by Morris Chapman telling Rankin he better get his missionaries in line because of a complaining missionary email that ended up on his desk.

They have enough pride to proclaim, “The 2000 statement of the Baptist Faith and Message is our doctrinal guideline.”

Oh, to elevate their paper higher than the Bible would require wheelbarrows if their egos had weight.

Rex Ray said...

You said, “What offends God more: that we do not get our doctrinal theology correct? Or that the 'wounded' in our path suffer from kindness unknown?

What is truly valued as Christian by Southern Baptists, as it is revealed in this 'seminary president's treatment of seventy-seven missionaries and Dr. Klouda?

Can this treatment be explained to the larger Christian community in ANY way that upholds Christ's laws of charity and mercy?"

L’s, thanks for remembering the wounded. But the seventy-seven missionaries is not the total number martyred by the bloody BFM guillotine.

Many saw the hand writing on the wall and retired before being ‘forced’ to retire or fired. How many applicants have been rejected since then because they would not sign?

Also many new rules of the IMB have removed long time missionaries…causing them to lose their benefits.

Years ago I reported to Rankin that a friend was in ‘trouble’ with the IMB rules and had decided he would listen to God rather than man.

Rankin’s response:
“I cannot imagine anyone considering firing ______. He and _____ are effective missionaries, and I recall his becoming pastor of the ______ Baptist Church was at a time of transition when we were moving away from supplying local church pastors for English congregations but affirming churches reaching the international community as consistent with our mission task. Under ______’s leadership, _______ Baptist Church has certainly demonstrated an effective ministry which the IMB endorses.”

Years ago, a group of us remodeled this missionary’s church, and he told me the IMB was going to leave him alone. I asked if he got it in writing. He smiled and said, “No, just the grapevine.”

Last week, a missionary told me this missionary had been fired, but the church was supporting him.

My pastor was a lot like Wade in the early years of the C/R. but recently he said:

“What Southern Baptists need to do is simple. Acknowledge what a confession is and what it is supposed to represent.

Replace those who are in power that abuse the trust they have been given. Put people in those positions that represent our churches and are walking with God.

Then, get back to doing the main thing. Pride and selfish agendas are not limited to one group or the other. I think the pendulum is swinging…If it is…things will change for the better…if not the SBC will die a slow death.”

Wanda said...

Wade said:
"I have a desire to shut down the control the ideologues who run SWBTS (and their sychopants)"


I assume the spelling of the last word above is a typo. It's a very significant word in describing some in the SBC.

Unfortunately, the "h" is out of place. The correct spelling is: "sycophant"

I assume most posting comments here know the word's meaning, but in case you're unfamiliar with it, I highly recommend that you add it to your vocabulary!

Sycophant -- one who attempts to win favor or advance himself by flattering persons of influence.



Gereja said...

John Piper, a more than 5 points calvinists hold to final salvation by works. This is from one of his online sermons:

"Leading me to say to you... the [final] judgment is not simply to determine relative rewards. The judgment is [to] determine whether you pass through judgment into life or whether you pass through judgment into condemnation. And the evidence laid on the table in the court room will be good deeds... When you stand before the judgment... it will... be... according to works... Do you care about words? I care about biblical words!"

Audio File: What Happens When You Die?

Just look into Westminster Confession's section on Perseverance; Calvinists believe salvation by works similar to the Arminians

Jeff said...

John Piper doesn't believe you are saved by works. You have taken him out of context. He believes that salvation produces in us good works. said...

In terms of regeneration and conversion happening all at the same time, I would be quite comfortable with such a thought except for instances where it seems quickening occurred long before conversion, as in the case of John the Baptist while in the womb of his mother, and the testimony of a number of saints in centuries past, including John Warburton in "Covenant Mercies of God,' where he describes a change in his heart occurring months before his actual conversion.


oc said...

But Wade,
Well, the instance is with me. Not John the Baptist or any great saints.

So what about my experience with God? Am I wrong and not saved, or did He work outside of the box?

ezekiel said...

Thanks for your response Wade.

I can agree with your comment. From my perspective, and with the eyes and ears that have been given me, I would be crazy to reject or turn away from His love or as he constantly "woos" me or what ever.

However, taking the idea of irresistable grace or effectual grace into the NT, lets look at some scripture that really troubles me.

The way I read the WORD, we have a pretty good picture of resisting His grace here.

Heb 10:26 For if we go on deliberately and willingly sinning after once acquiring the knowledge of the Truth, there is no longer any sacrifice left to atone for [our] sins [no further offering to which to look forward].
Heb 10:27 [There is nothing left for us then] but a kind of awful and fearful prospect and expectation of divine judgment and the fury of burning wrath and indignation which will consume those who put themselves in opposition [to God]. [Isa. 26:11.]

And here.

Heb 6:4 For it is impossible [to restore and bring again to repentance] those who have been once for all enlightened, who have consciously tasted the heavenly gift and have become sharers of the Holy Spirit,
Heb 6:5 And have felt how good the Word of God is and the mighty powers of the age and world to come,
Heb 6:6 If they then deviate from the faith and turn away from their allegiance--[it is impossible] to bring them back to repentance, for (because, while, as long as) they nail upon the cross the Son of God afresh [as far as they are concerned] and are holding [Him] up to contempt and shame and public disgrace.

What do we do with all the scriptures that seem to indicate it is not only possible to resist His grace but repeatedly warn us to not make the mistake of resisting His grace?

See many of them here.

Heb 10:26
Heb_6:4-6; Psa_19:12-13; Mat_12:31-32, Mat_12:43-45; Joh_9:41; 1Ti_1:13; 2Pe_2:20-22; 1Jo_5:16
after: Luk_12:47; Joh_13:17, Joh_15:22-24; 2Th_2:10; Jam_4:17
there: Heb_10:3-10

Any way we want to say it, call it presumptuous sin, knowing what to do and not doing it, a sin that leads to death, all these scriptures seem to be written to believers, people who have been enlightened or tasted the heavenly gift.

It looks like Christ in his own words warn those that have left their first love...

Rev 2:4 But I have this [one charge to make] against you: that you have left (abandoned) the love that you had at first [you have deserted Me, your first love].
Rev 2:5 Remember then from what heights you have fallen. Repent (change the inner man to meet God's will) and do the works you did previously [when first you knew the Lord], or else I will visit you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you change your mind and repent.

All of this sort of flies in the face of the I...

The first time I read it, I was an armenian, the second, I came out a calvinist, the 3rd just a lot more questions and now in the forth, well....

Much study will make you mad...

Please don't think that I am trying to trap you or that I am not sincere in my questions. It just seems that the more that I read the more it seems that any systemic methodolgy is frought with more questions than answers that it is supposed to provide.

Jeff said...

oc, What does the Bible say about your experience? You can't judge your experience without the standard of Scripture. said...


I believe regeneration and conversion can be simultaneous as well, as in your example.

In fact, I have no problem saying that regeneration and conversation are the majority of the time so close in time that it is indistinguishable for most Christians.

But, for some, the change of heart occurs first and they learn to hate their sins, they feel a sense of dread over impending judgment from God, but they have not heard the good news. When they do hear the good news, they fall in love with Christ and are converted through faith in Christ.

I just don't think we can put everybody into the same box.

wade said...


You ask some excellent questions.

I also think their are several warnings in Scripture, like the ones you mention, that cause people to pause and ask whether or not they truly know Christ.

If you get a chance, take a listen to the message I preached this morning from I John 2:3-6.

I think you will find that it is possible for someone like I to believe in sovereign grace while at the same time issuing warnings to those who claim to know God but exhibit no evidence of His grace in their lives.

oc said...

The Scripture says that Paul got knocked off his ass in an instant.


oc said...


oc said...

And you know what? Talking about God being boxed. It brings to mind a good question. Do you think everything that is of God is contained between the leather bindings we call the Holy Bible? I don't. I think He only hinted about His love and majesty in those 66 books.

And even though we may endeavor to master the material within the leather bindings, even if we do it expertly, does it mean we have loved the author?

No. It's all useless. Unless we also love those who the Author loves.


Jeff said...

oc, Good words, however, God has chosen to revealed to us what he believes to be important in 66 books that we call the Bible. Thus, our experience is to be judged by the standard He has given us.

James Gibson said...

As a two-time graduate of Mercer (undergrad and graduate degrees), I have to wonder whether or not Dr. Dagg would be welcome there today, also. Mercer has gone in a markedly different direction theologically, but I never heard this guy's name even mentioned in the history of the school during the six years I was there.

oc said...

Gee Jeff,
Thanks. Yet I see no real answer from you for the reasoning that God colors beyond the lines.

WatchingHISstory said...

KMC said: "But you have to go and spew vulgarity like calling us Wesleyan."

Kevin you are using labels maliciously. First dispensationalism now wesleyanism. Two of the best people who bear the name of Christ are my parents. They are Wesleyan of the highest order.

It truly hurts my feelings when you use Wesleyanism the way you do.

Where can I get an Adrian Rogers bobble head doll to set on my desk? I googled and could not find one.

Jeff said...

oc, Are you talking about general revelation? I'll need to reread you. Till then, there is no salvatific revelation outside the Bible.

There has to be a standard by which we judge our feelings and our experiences.

Christiane said...

The Inscrutable Riches of Christ: thoughts on a Sunday afternoon.

from Ephesians
Chapter 3

" For this reason I kneel before the Father,


from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named,

that he may grant you in accord with the riches of his glory to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in the inner self,

and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, rooted and grounded in love,

may have strength to comprehend with all the holy ones what is the breadth and length and height and depth,

and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

Now to him who is able to accomplish far more than all we ask or imagine, by the power at work within us,

to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen. "


time and time again we are told that we see 'as through a glass darkly', and still, in our pride, we think we can ourselves figure out all the answers.
But we cannot. Not now.

There are those mysteries of faith beyond our abilities to understand, to codify, to box in our favorite 'theological frameworks'. They won't fit into our 'boxes'. They can't.
These mysteries are too deep for our minds to grasp, in our present existence here on Earth.

And yet it pleases God to reveal to little children that which He keeps hidden from the wise.

Somehow, knowing this makes me trust God more. :) L's

WatchingHISstory said...


Dr Jerry Rankin preached for us this morning. I met him after the service and had an interesting conversation with him.

I really want to understand what SBC pastors believe to my satisfaction. I am not attacking anyone's character in doing this.
It is sensless to resort to emotional language in trying to understand what one believes. Seems that Kevin and oc do not understand this. I believe that you do.

So bear with me as I inquire. Faith and regeneration do not take place at the same time. Either salvation is all of God or there is a cooperation of the sinner with God. Either faith precedes regeneration or it follows regeneration.

Only a person wanting it both ways would argue for both being simultaneously. This argument has historical precedence since Dort

I have tried to say Wesleyan-like views to avoid calling people Wesleyan. Form, types of Wesleyan views. SBC- divine enablement.

I have already addressed effectual grace with no reply from you.

The I of Calvinism is irresistible grace. It is effectual. You are trying to hold to hypothetical universal attonement. Two wills in Christ, a desire and an effectual will, a universal call and a special limited call. These are ambiguous, indistinct, doubful and uncertain arguments.

In reality it is a sabotage of the truth in an effort to make God and his purposes more palatable to thoes at enmity with God. It treats all sinners as though God loves them and longs for their salvation on the condition that they will repent and believe on Christ as their savior.

Alan Paul said...

I didn't know God built boxes... I thought that was out job - a job that unfortunately, we do well.

While I recognize the Bible as authoritative, I am never going to say God cannot work outside of it in any way he chooses. To say that would assume I am on par with God. I am not. No human was/is/will be.

oc said...

No. You go right on ahead and "reread" me concerning any extra "salvatific revelation"
you may believe me adding or subtracting as to attributing to the Scriptures.

Wow. Some people just flat get carried away, with themselves.

Jeff said...

OC, You have misread me. I didn't say you added or subtracted anything.

yes, you did get carried away with yourself.

oc said...

Thanks Jeff.
Reread me.


Gereja said...


The Bible clearly differentiates between the condition to receive salvation and the gift of salvation. The gift of salvation is grace of God alone and nothing in man. The condition to receive salvation is faith in the finished world of Christ. So it is faith alone in Christ alone.

The Bible is clean on CONDITION and CONSEQUENCE of salvation. The Calvinists definitely REVERSE the order of the word of God by extraneous system of ordo salutis. The Bible clearly says: "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ AND you shall be saved" (Acts 16:31. Calvinists such as R.C.Sproul wants to teach the reverse: Be saved/regenerated--given faith and then believe.

Be careful not to twist the word of God to fit a system whether it is calvinism or wesleyanism or whatever.

WatchingHISstory said...

"Profile not available"

If as you imply faith is in man as a condition to receive Christ's finished work then you are neither Wesleyan nor Calvinist but an Arminian who claims the Bible supports your view.

If you were a Wesleyan then you would believe that faith was a gift of God and not naturally in man to receive Christ. You would be supernaturally enabled to act in faith.

If you were a Calvinist as myself and RC Sproul you would believe that you must be born againt to see the kingdom of God. The ordo salutis is regeneration then repentance. You are saved then you ask what must I do?

I'm betting that you think that you have to repent in order to be saved! You repent and be baptized because you are saved. New converts are baptized in order to receive remission of sins.

When a saved person sins he repents and receives forgivness and cleansing.

WatchingHISstory said...

Will God allow you to abort a regenerated baby before or after birth?

Can a sinner stop God from conceiving a 'spiritual' child?

ezekiel said...

Thanks Wade. I will certainly listen to it. I was checking out another blog last night and run across the following posting on Spurgeon that they do every Sunday. Sort of timely I think.

You may want to dig his sermon up and look at it a little closer. It seems that he speaks of things that would help us avoid error today in our schools. If I am reading him correctly and understand calvinism and armenianism correctly (one seems to stress the devine side and the other the human side)then it may well be an imperitive to teach both in our schools.

Divine Sovereignty and Human Responsibility
Your weekly dose of Spurgeon
posted by Phil Johnson

The PyroManiacs devote some space each weekend to highlights from The Spurgeon Archive. The following excerpt is from "The Father's Will," a sermon first published in 1873. We start with the text Spurgeon was preaching from:

"This is the Father's will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day. And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day" (John 6:39-40).

the two phrases set forth the divine side of salvation and the human side of salvation.

Anonymous said...


Belief and faith (both English concepts) are inherent in ONE Greek word: pistos.

One cannot believe without faith, and one cannot have faith (the true faith of the Spirit) and not believe.

Calvinists submit that this believing faith (pistos) is not present in the dead nature of fallen mankind but rather is imparted to the sinner upon regeneration. The result looks different in each conversion. But the end result is ALWAYS a Child of the King.

Please if I may ask kindly, stop ragging on Calvinists. Stop slamming the order of salvation presented by junkster. Is it in the Bible? Absolutely. It is neatly compacted in one verse for you to pull out and prooftext? No. Dangerous it is to pull out one verse and support a doctrine. Oh yes, very dangerous indeed!

I do not expect you to read through the whole Bible today, but I do expect you to listen to others who have read portions you have not. Then put it all together and let the Spirit of God teach you. Now remember that the next time you want to bash a Calvinist. Unholy fire from an unholy place just may come down and consumeth the key upon which thou typest.


Gereja said...

Mr. Crowder,

Your view or rather your parroting of calvinism's total depravity=total inability to respond and say yes or no to the Gospel is foreign to the Bible. It is reading a false philosophy onto the texts of Scripture. You can't affirm it from careful exegesis of Scripture texts. Of course calvinists always read their preconceived assumptions about inability into all the imperatives moods--the commands to believe the Gospel.

I urge you who presumed to have read the whole Bible and wanting God to strike me dead to reread ONLY the gospel of John and show WHERE exactly in the TEXTS it is said explicitly or implicitly that sinners must be BORN AGAIN BEFORE BELIEVING the Gospel.

Please do from the text and stop pilling name upon name, stop pilling quotations upon quotations to prove total inability to believe. Where is it in the text?

By the way I am a Baptist too and once dined with those big names, sitting by Dr. Rankin. So what? My faith does not rest on what the big names say.


WatchingHISstory said...

The worst systematic theology box is the "biblicist" box.

The biblical box is a joker card with the dealer maintaining the right to determine which card is the joker at any point in the game. The dealer always wins!

The greatest victim is the author of the Bible!

ezekiel said...


Actually, I think the biblicist is not in the danger that you think he is. He seems quite content to remain within the bounds of scripture and therefor well protected from the curse promised to those that would add to or take away from scripture.

Spurgeon has a good deal to say about this. Following is something that I think you should read. This is only an excerpt, I suggest you read the whole thing.You can find the rest of it

"A little of this evil I detect among godly people. I find that sometimes even gracious men think they have had revelations. Texts of Scripture are no doubt laid home by the Holy Ghost to the souls of men as much to-day as in Paul's time, and there can be no doubt whatever that the Spirit bringeth all things to our remembrance whatsoever Christ hath taught, and that he leadeth us into all truth; but when a man tells me that the Holy Ghost has revealed to him something that is not in the Bible, he lies!

Is that a hard word? It doth but express the truth. The man may have dreamed his revelation, he may have fancied it, but the Holy Spirit goeth never beyond the written word. "He shall take of mine, and shall show it unto you." And beyond what Christ hath spoken and what Christ hath taught, the Holy Spirit goeth in no sense and in no respect. You understand what Christ has taught through the Spirit's teaching; but anything beyond the teaching of Christ and his apostles must be not of God but of man.

This is a most important principle to be held fast by all godly people, for the day may come when false prophets shall arise, and delude the people, and by this shall we be able to discover them; if they claim aught beyond what Christ hath put them aside, for they be false prophets, wolves in sheep's clothing. The Spirit only teacheth us that which Christ hath taught beforehand either by himself or by the inspired apostles. "He shall take of mine and shall show it unto you."

You may want to think about this the next time you want to bring up snakes and talking dogs.

WatchingHISstory said...


Adrian Rogers, Jehovah Witnesses, Church of Christ, Bible believing fundamentalist and Ezekial is a biblicist. What is the problem with this box?

WatchingHISstory said...

Biblicism, Arminianism, Calvinism, Creationism, Dispensationalism, Pelagianism etc. etc. are 'isms' for interpreting the Bible.

God has revealed the Word to us and we have to interpret it correctly. We have the Holy Spirit to accomplish that.

WatchingHISstory said...

Regeneration takes place below the conscious level. This work is irrestible. It occurs like the blowing of the wind. It is a necessity to see the kingdom of God.

There is one way to be saved whether you are an imbecile, infant or adult. You will be irrestibly born again by the will of the Father.

Everyone regenerated by the Spirit are all born in like manner. John 3:8

David, John the baptist, Jeremiah, Uriah's wife's child fathered by David, Saul of Tarsus, children in Cornelius' house hold etc. were regenerated before adult understanding of spiritual matters.

B Nettles said...

John 3:3 "...unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God." Why did Jesus use the metaphor of birth? Because no infant wills themselves to be born. Birth happens to them. Following that, if one cannot see the kingdom, one cannot believe.

John 3:8: "The wind blows where it wishes and you hear the sound of it, but do not know where it comes from and where it is going; so is everyone who is born of the Spirit." [Nice twist of words here, using wind (motion of air similar to breathing in action) to describe the Spirit (pneuma or breath).] We don't control the Spirit. New birth happens when and where God wants it to happen.

John 3:15 "that the believing one may in Him have eternal life." one must be born again in order to believe, then in believing has eternal life in Christ.

John 6:35-45, 63-65: There must be some that are not given, unless you accept universalism.

Also see John 10:22-31. "the Jews" spoken of here see the miracles and hear the teaching but "you do not believe because you are not of My sheep." The Father has given to the Son those who will have eternal life.
Action: Given by the Father, then Born again - must be alive to see the kingdom and believe
Proof of Action: Belief
Benefit of Action:Eternal Life and security

B Nettles said...

Also, in your first post, the proper word it "moot," not "mute." It is a legal term. I ragged on Kevin about this same word earlier, so he knows better now. :)

B Nettles said...

Greg Harvey,
You use the term "traditionalist SB soteriology." It really wasnt' "traditional" until the 2nd half of the 20th century beginning around the time of E. Y. Mullins. The traditionalists are really Dagg, Boyce, and the Basil Manleys. I believe "late 20th century soteriology" or maybe "Sunday School Board soteriology" would be more accurate.

Gereja said...


Saying or affirm a position or ridicule another's position don't constitute truthfulness of scripturalness of your assumption.

You said "Regeneration takes place below the conscious level. This work is irrestible. It occurs like the blowing of the wind. It is a necessity to see the kingdom of God."

Please show where is it expressly taught in the Bible.


Gereja said...

Mr. Nettles,

The statement that "you must be born again" in itself does not prove regeneration before believing.

The whole context shows Nicodemus's misunderstanding of the demand. And vs 15-16 CLEARLY shows that FAITH (condition) and the consequence is the EVERLASTING LIFE.

John 6:47, “He who believes in Me [the condition] has everlasting life [the consequence].” The condition to be born again in John’s Gospel is stated as “believing,” “drinking,” “eating,” “receiving,” and “coming.” And Jesus variously states the consequence as “everlasting life,” “shall never thirst,” “shall never hunger,” “shall not perish,” “shall never die,” “shall not come into judgment [or condemnation],” and “has passed from death into life.”

Paul says we got the Holy Spirit by faith and not unto faith (Gal 3:2-3); and he is always clear of the condition of faith and the consequence of everlasting life: “believing on [Jesus] for everlasting life” (1 Tim 1:16).

Calvinists the world over always put the consequence before the condition. The reason for the GIFT PROVISION of salvation is pure GRACE. The CONDITION of receiving salvation is Faith. The respected greek scholar Robertson in Word Pictures reminds us of Eps 2:8-9 that GRACE IS GOD'S PART; and FAITH IS MAN'S PART. Faith is only receiving the Gift. The object of faith--the Christ the Savior that saves.


ezekiel said...


You say,

"God has revealed the Word to us and we have to interpret it correctly. We have the Holy Spirit to accomplish that."

Which on the surface may be a true enough statement but coming from you, we have to wonder about everything you write. The less mature in Christ can easily be led astray by your error.

Spurgeon says,

"when a man tells me that the Holy Ghost has revealed to him something that is not in the Bible, he lies!

Is that a hard word? It doth but express the truth. The man may have dreamed his revelation, he may have fancied it, but the Holy Spirit goeth never beyond the written word. "He shall take of mine, and shall show it unto you." And beyond what Christ hath spoken and what Christ hath taught, the Holy Spirit goeth in no sense and in no respect. You understand what Christ has taught through the Spirit's teaching; but anything beyond the teaching of Christ and his apostles must be not of God but of man."

With your profession of visions and such that can't in any way be supported via Scripture then we have to wonder about anything you say. Weigh it every time, is it truth or is it another lie.

But then what does scripture say about that?

Jer 23:25 I have heard what the prophets have said who prophesy lies in My name, saying, I have dreamed, I have dreamed [visions on my bed at night].
Jer 23:26 [How long shall this state of things continue?] How long yet shall it be in the minds of the prophets who prophesy falsehood, even the prophets of the deceit of their own hearts,
Jer 23:27 Who think that they can cause My people to forget My name by their dreams which every man tells to his neighbor, just as their fathers forgot My name because of Baal?
Jer 23:28 The prophet who has a dream, let him tell his dream; but he who has My word, let him speak My word faithfully. What has straw in common with wheat [for nourishment]? says the Lord.
Jer 23:29 Is not My word like fire [that consumes all that cannot endure the test]? says the Lord, and like a hammer that breaks in pieces the rock [of most stubborn resistance]?
Jer 23:30 Therefore behold, I am against the [false] prophets, says the Lord, [I am even now descending upon them with punishment, these prophets] who steal My words from one another [imitating the phrases of the true prophets].
Jer 23:31 Behold, I am against the prophets, says the Lord, who use their [own deceitful] tongues and say, Thus says the Lord.
Jer 23:32 Behold, I am against those who prophesy lying dreams, says the Lord, and tell them and cause My people to err and go astray by their lies and by their vain boasting and recklessness--when I did not send them or command them; nor do they profit these people at all, says the Lord.

There shouldn't be a lot of interpretation required here Watchin, I think He speaks for Himself and pretty clearly at that.

B Nettles said...

You conveniently ignored John 3:3. It clearly states that being born again is the condition for seeing the kingdom. How can you believe without first realizing that something could exist.

Secondly, you have turned 3:15-16 into an if-then statement and it's not that. It is a this-and-that statement. Notice that the believer doesn't receive anything; the believer HAS something.

Eph. 2: 8-9 clearly states that faith is "not of yourselves, it is the gift of God."

You also haven't taken the John 6 passages into account.

Thanks for the interaction.

WatchingHISstory said...

John 3:3-8
Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, unless you are born again, you cannot see the Kingdom of God.”

“What do you mean?” exclaimed Nicodemus. “How can an old man go back into his mother’s womb and be born again?”

Jesus replied, “I assure you, no one can enter the Kingdom of God without being born of water and the Spirit. Humans can reproduce only human life, but the Holy Spirit gives birth to spiritual life. So don’t be surprised when I say, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows wherever it wants. Just as you can hear the wind but can’t tell where it comes from or where it is going, so you can’t explain how people are born of the Spirit.”

Now can you refute Jesus' words? He himself is saying the new birth is irresistible and non-conditional. He displays amazement that a scholar in Israel does not understand this.

Hebrews 8: 9-12
This covenant will not be like the one I made with their ancestors
when I took them by the hand and led them out of the land of Egypt.
They did not remain faithful to my covenant, so I turned my back on them, says the Lord. (This is an inferior covenant that is conditional and could be resisted by the covenated Israel)

But this is the new covenant I will make with the people of Israel on that day (Irresistible and unconditional), says the Lord: I will put my laws in their minds, and I will write them on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. And they will not need to teach their neighbors, nor will they need to teach their relatives, saying, ‘You should know the Lord.’
For everyone, from the least to the greatest, will know me already. And I will forgive their wickedness, and I will never again remember their sins.”

The NC is a change of nature of new birth before conciousness written on the hearts. I hope the respected greek scholar Robertson understood this is NOT THE WORK OF MAN but all of grace. He should not feel bad because Nicodemus didn't understand either and he was probally a better greek scholar than Robertson! There are a lot of greek scholars who don't understand and I hope I can reach them as well. Modern day greek scholars are hard to reason with.

WatchingHISstory said...

Ezekial, I should not cast pearls at swine but I will anyway. Your 'argumentum ad hominem' designed to ridicule me before the forum members and distract from my thesis is baseless.

You listen to gmommy and oc and often emotional women will mislead you. Both of you show me where I talked with a dog or a dog talked with me. I have a dog named Roscoe and we go for walks twice a day. I had a vision while the dog was with me and there was a snake in the path when walking the dog.

Foolishly you think that you have Spurgeon and God on your side against me. I don't think that neither of them will side with you on this. Especially God, since He knows He has not spoke audibly through a dog to me.

But you are so sure He did! Now who is lying? God does not lie. I am not lying.

Now you NASS and her sheep desperately search the archives to find the truth.

WatchingHISstory said...

now NASS don't alter the comments!

just copy and paste and give a date and time for verification.

E-mails are flashing and sheep are busy, busy, busy

ezekiel said...


Please forgive me if I get lost in the vision stuff, what with snakes and Rosco and kids that didn't see it and all the other stuff. Hey, its your vision and it is recorded somewhere but I can't find it in my bible. In fact, I can't find it in any of them.

If you want to correct me, feel free to point us all to one of the places you have related it. I don't have the time or the inclination to look for it. We both know that in the end, it is the vision that you claim that, according to Spurgeon....makes you a liar. Strong words for sure but there is a pretty good explanation in the link I provided earlier. I suggest you read it if you haven't.

WatchingHISstory said...

Biblically it is an absolute impossibility for grace to be resisted or for the sinner to exercise faith before regeneration.

It is also ambiguious to try to say that there is a clause in scripture that mid regeneration there is a mysterious simultaneous syncretic work that appeases the humanist and Arminians belief in choice.

I believe in the purity of the gospel above the unity of the diverse beliefs. There is one faith not many faiths.

Gereja said...


To label a position within a camp and dismiss it as wrong is NOT and argument at all. You assume my thesis is wrong by your own assumption that I was wrong by association. I did not quote Wesley or Calvin. I pointed out WHAT IS IN THE TEXT OF SCRIPTURE.

Where in the TEXT OF SCRIPTURE saying as you summarized that a person must be born again/saved first THEN believe? "If you were a Calvinist as myself and RC Sproul you would believe that you must be born againt to see the kingdom of God. The ordo salutis is regeneration then repentance. You are saved then you ask what must I do?"

This is a sadly a colossal twisting of Scripture assuming that the Philippian jailer HAS BEEN BORN AGAIN/ALREADY SAVED when he asked "What shall I do to be saved?" (Acts 16:30); and your WRONGLY assumed that Acts 16:31 is the question of a SAVED PERSON. Because Paul answered: "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ AND YOU SHALL BE SAVED."

No matter WHO saying the contrary (e.g., Calvin, Spurgeon, Sproul, Piper, etc)--pilling names upon names to prove the contrary THE ORDER IN THE TEXT CAN'T BE CHANGED. Faith in the Lord Jesus is the CONDITION to receive salvation; and eternal life is the CONSEQUENCE of receiving the grace gift of salvation.

Forget about those labels sir. Your faith should stand upon Scripture and scripture alone. The text is inspired by the Holy Spirit. The opinion of men have to be judged by the text and not the other way around.


WatchingHISstory said...


so you are lying about God speaking to me thru a dog.

The question is is this lie intentional or by ignorance.

I don't have to search the archives I know the truth.

I suspect that Spurgeon doesn't want to participate in this lie!
It is senseless to tie Spurgeon into this.

Actually, Ezekial, all I want to do is discuss grace with you in a rational manner, but you interject silly emotionalism into the topic.

Gereja said...


You said "Biblically it is an absolute impossibility for grace to be resisted or for the sinner to exercise faith before regeneration."

Acts 7:51 says to the contrary "You stiff-necked people, with uncircumcised hearts and ears! You are just like your fathers: You always resist the Holy Spirit!

Just look up Calvin's commentary on this passage. He believed as the text says. Why bother about philosophical system named Calvinism or Wesleyanism if it is agains the text?

It is not the only text about resisting the Holy Spirit. Even believers--mature believers CAN resist the Spirit (e.g., David's case). Why the warnings for believers in Eps 4:30 "don't grieve the Spirit"? and "don't quench the Spirit. . ." 1Thes5.

Too much philosophical theology and too little biblical theology is very dangerous sir.



WatchingHISstory said...


I did not quote Wesley or Calvin. I pointed out WHAT IS IN THE TEXT OF SCRIPTURE. John 3:3-8 and Hebrews 8:9-12

I have worked extensively with a Jehovah Witness and he is a "very strong Bible believer" so I am familiar with your abuse of the Bible in argumentation. Adrian Rogers used this same fallacy of argumentation.

I believe that I have offered substantial arguments and B Nettles has bettered my argument so you have heard strong statements. But you reply with a material fallacy of reasoning, 'argumentum ad verecundiam'. This means you equate your view with God himself (the appeal to prestige) Therefore if I resist your argument I am resisting God himself. This is a fallacy of reasoning on your part.

I have freely stated that Calvinism is a theory of interpretation as are all our interpretations. I have never quoted Wesley or Calvin but you have again appealed to the prestige of Dr Robertson as an authority which I pointed out his possible error. No response from you.

ezekiel said...


I don't really think a rational discussion is possible as long as you insist on the visions you have been seeing.

WatchingHISstory said...


following circular reasoning, I don't really think a rational discussion is possible as long as you insist on lying about what I say about visions i have seen.

I do know that your bible says old men will dream dreams and young men see visions. Your Bible does not say anything about lying about what a man claims he received from the Lord!

Are your sheep friends still searching to prove you are not lying? It will be a long night. I've got to go to bed> I have to go to work for a living. Also my daughter just left for the hospital for labor and delivery.

My sleep will probably be interrupted tonight. keep her in your prayers, thanks.

WatchingHISstory said...


I said: "Biblically it is an absolute impossibility for grace to be resisted or for the sinner to exercise faith before regeneration."

You said: "Acts 7:51 says to the contrary "You stiff-necked people, with uncircumcised hearts and ears! You are just like your fathers: You always resist the Holy Spirit!"

I say apples and you say oranges. what gives? I'll agree however with you about the topic change.
Believers can resist the Holy Spirit. I don't know how this applies to sinners resisting the Holy Spirit. I have never read any of Calvin's works but if you will direct me I will try to read what he said, but I am an independent thinker (Wade's blog post today) and will not just believe everything Calvin says.

Do you believe everything Robertson says?

The Phillipian jailer, awakened from sleep drew his sword and would have killed himself.

But he heard Paul assure him all the prisinors were present and the jailer came trembling to Paul. This is parallel to Acts 2:37. They were pricked and he trembled indicating a work of the Holy Spirit in their hearts. As Jews they ask "what must we do?" Salvation was not an issue but following Christ was the issue.
For the jailer a Phillipian gentile "what must I do to be saved?" Salvation was the issue and for all repentance after regeneration and being baptized for remission for sins was necessary. Clearly an order is established Regeneration (pricking and trembling) and asking for directions in context of covenant.

Steven's listeners were covenanted already but disobedient (stiffnecked and uncircumcised of heart) and resisted the Holy Spirit as most American Evangelicals are doing.

The jailer was a gentile under the new covenant and experienced a blessing (previously he was ready to commit suicide) he could not resist!

I wonder what Calvin would say about all this! I donno!

Gereja said...


You are reading calvinistic error of regeneration/salvation BEFORE believe into "pricked" and "trembling" as signs of salvation.

You are really confused sir. Study your Bible carefully--the Phillipians jailer is not a Jew.

WatchingHISstory said...


Madam, You are really confused. Study my comment carefully--the Phillipians jailer is not a Jew. Obviously you did not study my comment. Your belief in the Bible obscures what you perceive others to believe. A strong Bibleology is counterproductive to the truth. The worship of the Bible generally alienates the believer from the author of the Bible. The author of the Bible grants supernaturally the understanding of the Bible. I respectfully say that perhaps you are attempting to study the Bible without being filled with the Spirit. Many American Evangelicals are doing this today. I point this out to you in love.

Now back to our debate (Acts 17:17)
Now even hypothetical universal atonement (2,3,4 point Calvinist [which are not really calvinist] will admit that pricking and trembling are evidence of regeneration. However if you want to deny this then by your argument you are reading "arminian" error into the text. If you want to make belief come before regeneration then you have them repenting and being baptized in order to be regenerated.

Now clearly regeneration "puts away the filth of the flesh" and baptism is the "answer of a good conscience toward God." So by your belief you confuse the two to be baptismal regeneration. Of course one of your greek scholars will correct that by altering the text to say they were baptized because of remission of sins and not for remission of sins.

That would make regeneration be repentant, decisional regeneration. The is Arminianism and that is why your Sunday service follows the modern non-biblical rite of altar invitations to lead people in decisional regeneration and then eventually baptize them as a "sign or symbol" of regeneration. This is the kind of theology that Adrian Rogers practiced quiet openly though erroronously.

In both scriptural instances the order of salvation was they heard a vibrant witness given unto Christ, Peter preaching and Paul and Silas praying and singing. There was no effort to convert anyone but to announce the good news directly and indirectly, indisciminately to everyone.

In both instances there was an effectual call that went forth and regeneration took place with convincing evidence. Pricking, trembling and the earth shook! This Baptism by the Spirit is an earth shaking experience, isn't it? Now they have the filth of the flesh put away. All this has taken place below a concious level now their conscience is stirred. That which took place sub-consciously now surfaces into the conscience, evidencing regeneration.
In the case of Jews, "what must we do?" (what must I do to inherit eternal life - rich young ruler) In the case of a gentile, "what must I do to be saved?"

To have a good conscience before God you must repent and be baptized.

Oh well, you haven't read all this. If you had you would just say " Too much philosophical theology and too little biblical theology is very dangerous sir."

Reminds me of Festus saying to Paul, "thou art beside thyself; much learning doeth make thee mad!"

WatchingHISstory said...

hey all

I am a proud grand father for the fifth time a 9 lb boy!!!


Gereja said...


Nowhere in the Bible is pricked hear = regeneration. This is reading TULIP into the text pure and simple. You know total depravity as TOTAL INABILITY TO PERCEIVE AND RESPOND TO THE GOSPEL itself is not taught in even ONE text of Scripture. For example Trinity is not found in the Bible but being taught everywhere in the Bible.

Irresistibility of God/Jesus Christ/Holy Spirit is denied by calvinists but is a de facto reported since Genesis 3. What is resisting the Spirit but resisting the Word=the Gospel? Adam did resist the Word. Cain resist the Word. Pharaoh hardened his heart=resist. God the Holy Spirit can't be pushed phisically but HIS power by means of His words (2Pet3:16) is resistible. People with MIND and VOLITION keep making choices to CONCENT or to reject the Word is the resisting of the Spirit. Please don't read TULIP into the text.

1Jh2:2 is being mangled by calvinists by reading TULIP into this CLEAR teaching of the text. Even John 3:16 the world "kosmos" is being twisted to mean "the elect." Don't you see how you are being blinded by precoceived notions of the absoluteness of a man's system of TULIP. Just try to read the Bible without TULIP, it will help you more.

Really you are blinded by assuming TULIP. See pricked heart is being interpreted in light of calvinistic I, hence regeneration.

Abraham was regenerated when believed in the Gospel, Gen 15:6, “Then he believed in the Lord; and it was credited to his account for righteousness.” I bet the calvinists MUST insert REGENERATION FIRST then Abraham believed. Problem is IT IS NOT ANYWHERE TAUGHT IN THE BIBLE.

Gereja said...


The Bible clearly teaches this: believe and thou shalt live! "Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on Me hath everlasting life" (John 6:47). "That whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have eternal life" (John 3:15). The extreme Calvinist says, "live and thou shalt believe!" Please notice that John 1:12 does not say this: "But as many as have been regenerated, to them gave He the power to believe on His Name, even to those who have become the children of God." Notice also that John 20:31 says, "believing ye might have life." It does not say, "having life ye might believe." In his helpless and hopeless condition the sinner is told to LOOK to the Lord Jesus Christ AND LIVE (John 3:14-16; Numbers 21). [We sing the hymn, Look and Live. The extreme Calvinist should rename the hymn: Live and Look.] The extreme Calvinist teaches that a person must have life in order to believe. The Lord Jesus taught that a person must believe (come to Christ) in order to have life (John 5:40). Remember, to "come to Christ" is synonymous with "believing on Him" (see John 6:35,37,40). Why do people not believe on Christ? Is it because they have not been regenerated or because they refuse to come to Christ by faith (John 5:40; 2 Thess. 2:10,12)?

R. C. Sproul believes that regeneration precedes faith. But in spite of his doctrine, he once wrote the following: "Once Luther grasped the teaching of Paul in Romans, he was reborn" (R. C. Sproul, The Holiness of God, 1993 edition, p. 144). He must have written these words in haste because to be consistent with his theology he should have said it this way: "Once Luther was reborn, he grasped the teaching of Paul in Romans."

If regeneration precedes faith, then this would make faith unnecessary since the person would already be saved. If a person is regenerated, then he is born of God, a member of God’s family and a possessor of eternal life. If you are a member of God’s family and a possessor of eternal life, then you are already saved. So what need is there for faith?

Charles Spurgeon recognized the folly of saying that the sinner must be regenerated before he can believe:

"If I am to preach the faith in Christ to a man who is regenerated, then the man, being regenerated, is saved already, and it is an unnecessary and ridiculous thing for me to preach Christ to him, and bid him to believe in order to be saved when he is saved already, being regenerate. Am I only to preach faith to those who have it? Absurd, indeed! Is not this waiting till the man is cured and then bringing him the medicine? This is preaching Christ to the righteous and not to sinners." [Sermon entitled The Warrant of Faith].

Concerning regeneration preceding faith, some Calvinists take this to a ridiculous extreme. Though it seems unthinkable, they actually teach that a person can be regenerated by God and then not come to faith in Christ until years later.

The Reformation Study Bible (formerly called The Geneva Study Bible) claims to be a clear statement of Reformed theology. On page 1664 there is an article on Regeneration. It is a shocking statement relating to infant salvation: "Infants can be born again, although the faith that they exercise cannot be as visible as that of adults." I wrote to R.C. Sproul (General Editor) to ask for clarification of this statement. I received a written response from Sproul’s assistant, V.A. Voorhis (dated 1/6/2000) in which he made the following statement which is even more shocking:

When the RSB speaks in the notes of John 3 of "infants being born again," it is speaking of the work of quickening God does in them which inclines their will to Him. In Protestantism, regeneration always precedes faith and if God quickens them, the person will surely come . . .Often, regeneration and our subsequent faith happen apparently simultaneously but logically, regeneration must precede faith. An infant’s faith may not come until years after God has worked by His Holy Spirit to regenerate him or her [emphasis ours]. Two Biblical examples of infants who were born again are seen in Psalm 22:9-10 and Luke 1:15.

According to this teaching a child can be born again or regenerated as an infant and not come to faith in Christ until years later! This may or may not have been the teaching of the Reformers, but it certainly is not the teaching of the Word of God.

For a moment, let’s assume that what the extreme Calvinists are saying is true. If regeneration precedes faith, then what must a sinner do to be regenerated? The extreme Calvinists have never satisfactorily answered this. Shedd’s answer is typical. Because the sinner cannot believe, he is instructed to perform the following duties: (1) Read and hear the divine Word. (2) Give serious application of the mind to the truth. (3) Pray for the gift of the Holy Spirit for conviction and regeneration. [W.G.T. Shedd, Dogmatic Theology, Vol. II, pages 472, 512, 513].

Roy Aldrich’s response to this is penetrating: "A doctrine of total depravity that excludes the possibility of faith must also exclude the possibilities of hearing the Word, giving serious application to divine truth and praying for the Holy Spirit for conviction and regeneration. The extreme Calvinist deals with a rather lively spiritual corpse after all." [Roy L. Aldrich, "The Gift of God," Biblio-theca Sacra, July 1965, pages 248-253].

The problem with this position is that it perverts the gospel. The sinner is told that the condition of salvation is prayer instead of faith. How contrary to Acts 16:31 where the sinner is not told to pray for conviction and regeneration. The sinner is simply told to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ.

WatchingHISstory said...

For a moment, let’s assume that what the extreme Calvinists are saying is true. If regeneration precedes faith, then what must a sinner do to be regenerated? The extreme Calvinists have never satisfactorily answered this.

well there was one who talked with a onfused hebrew scholar. He said "You must be born again in order to see the Kingdom of God."
He thought that it was like the blowing wind. The new birth for him took place below conscious level and had nothing to do with an activity of the sinner.

Jeff said...

Gegra, Doesn't believe one needs to be convicted of their sins to receive Christ!!!

Jeff said...

gereja, Easy believeism as thought at DTS has been exposed for what it is a perverted Gospel.

Gereja said...


Perceiving the Gospel and receiving the Gospel are two different things. The Holy Spirit persuades the sinner that the Gospel is truth; but the sinner must consent to the truth. The Holy Spirit does not do the believing. The Spirit does not coerce the mind. He is a gentleman. Jn 16:8-11 is a persuasive ministry of the Spirit; not coercive work. You have been deluded by Depravity=inability.

Calvinists MUST READ REGENERATION BEFORE BELIEVE to interpret Rom 10 because of the blindness caused by TULIP:

Rm10:13for every one -- whoever shall call upon the name of the Lord, he shall be saved.'

14How then shall they call upon [him] in whom they did not believe? and how shall they believe [on him] of whom they did not hear? and how shall they hear apart from one preaching?

15and how shall they preach, if they may not be sent? according as it hath been written, `How beautiful the feet of those proclaiming good tidings of peace, of those proclaiming good tidings of the good things!'


Gereja said...


Can you elaborate a bit more the difference between easy-believism [me?] and yours hard-believism? Is it your repentance? Is it your pre-salvation or post-salvation works? Are you thinking of perseverance? As Westminster confession states it? Or are you thinking along the line of John Piper who said that final salvation depend on good works? (Earlier post)

WatchingHISstory said...

gereja Tue Feb 17, 10:12:00 AM 2009
you said:
"The Bible clearly teaches this: believe and thou shalt live! "Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on Me hath everlasting life" (John 6:47). "That whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have eternal life" (John 3:15)."

In the lengthy first paragraph you refered to believing several times as a condition for salvation. You deny the Calvinist view of total depravity/inability, so where does this belief come from? Is it the work of the sinner's ability?

Does every sinner have this ability?

I've never subscribed to Sproul's view of huamn freedom and election.
I am leary of believing everything that has been written about Spurgeon. I try not to rely on man's doctrines. It does seem to me that the Banner of Truth Trust has an agenda to distroy "extreme Calvinism" by twisting the words of men like Spurgeon. They have successfully promoted Hypo-Calvinism as a view of many Evangelicals who are ashamed and embarressed by Calvinism. This is an old theory of 4 point Calvinism, Amyraldianism.

I am the extreme Calvinist which you refer to. I don't buy this statement: "Often, regeneration and our subsequent faith happen apparently simultaneously. . ." This is a hypo-Calvinism view I reject. However I can buy: "An infant’s faith may not come until years after God has worked by His Holy Spirit to regenerate him or her [emphasis ours]. Two Biblical examples of infants who were born again are seen in Psalm 22:9-10 and Luke 1:15."

also this: "Concerning regeneration preceding faith, some Calvinists take this to a ridiculous extreme. Though it seems unthinkable, they actually teach that a person can be regenerated by God and then not come to faith in Christ until years later."

I don't know Shedd, but if what you quoted is Calvinism you are confused. His quote is not Calvinism. Sinners won't (1) Read and hear the divine Word. (2) Give serious application of the mind to the truth. (3) Pray for the gift of the Holy Spirit for conviction and regeneration. They are totally depraved and have not the ability to understand, hear, pray and apply the word of God.

Roy Aldrich’s response is a "Pelagian" statement as are your statements. You seem to believe that there is enough good in the sinner to make a right choice. This flies in the face of Paul's words in Romans 3 about the condition of all men under the judgment of sin.

What a web you weave: "The problem with this position is that it perverts the gospel. The sinner is told that the condition of salvation is prayer instead of faith. How contrary to Acts 16:31 where the sinner is not told to pray for conviction and regeneration." You have successfully built a straw man argument against Calvinism. UNCONDITIONAL ELECTION is the U in TULIP. There are no conditions to God's election. Not prayer, faith, belief, push-ups or any human activity. We were elected before we were born the first time. Infact before the foundations of the world were laid, we were elected. Truly our salvation proceeds from a non-conscious level.

UNIVERSALISM says "The sinner is simply told to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ." The Bible says that whosoever (not universalism) believeth shall not perish (emphatically) but have everlasting life. The whosoever is not just anybody but a particular people and attonment is limited to thoes people. It is effectual to all it intends to save. All that the Father gives to Christ are in fact saved and not one is lost.

How much clearer can it be?

Mark Smith said...

Interesting thing that Dr. Allen said what was RIGHT ON, but apparently did so as ridicule.

I got to thinking, Do we see a record in Acts or the Epistles of Paul, Peter or John, of them telling a crowd, "Jesus died for you, and if you'll only believe...."?

A couple of examples that show us differently, more like what Dr. Allen rightly said that consistent believers in the Doctrines of Grace would present the Gospel:

Acts 8:35 - "Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning with this Scripture [Is 53] he told him the good news about Jesus."

At Mars Hill, Paul preached, "...For he has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed. He has given proof of this to all men by raising him from the dead"
(Acts 17:31).

In these cases, the Gospel was apparently presented as what God had done, and it was the, shall I say, personal appeal (effectual call) of the Holy Spirit that was directed to the people who believed and were converted.

WatchingHISstory said...

very good comment!
I had the same thoughts while looking again at the sermons Paul preached under confinement to Felix, Festus and Agrippa. Seems to be a template that fits over them.

I don't think that Paul was seeking to persuade Agrippa but something was taking place with Agrippa to make him think he was. . .I wonder what that could have been?

Gereja said...


I guess you wanted to read your TULIP part of regeneration/conversion before believe into Agrippa. If so then it is soooooooooo dangerous having a system preconceived then read YOUR FALSE ASSUMPTION onto the text. Brother let the text speaks for itself, you don't need to help the text with the so called 'effectual' personal call--mysterious call though you FEEL mystical and PIOUS with the explanation but you can't dig REGENERATION from Agrippa in the text. Ask God the Holy Spirit to teach you instead of reading calvinism into the text (Jn 14:26).