Brakel: Logical order, faith precedes regeneration

Status
Not open for further replies.

John Yap

Puritan Board Freshman
"We place faith following regeneration. This is not to suggest that man is first made alive and regenerated, and then is gifted with faith; on the contrary, faith precedes regeneration. This is not true in a chronological sense, but as far as natural order is concerned, for the Word is the seed of regeneration (1 Pet. 1:23), and the Word cannot be efficacious except by faith (Heb. 4:2). Upon the first act of receiving Jesus and being united with Him, man becomes spiritually alive. It is by faith, however, that one receives Him as such and is united to Him, and by the exercise of faith the life of such a person increases. “As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in Him: rooted and built up in Him, and stablished in the faith” (Col. 2:6–7)."

Interesting, he separates effectual calling from regeneration.
 

Contra_Mundum

Pilgrim, Alien, Stranger
Staff member
I may be reading this incorrectly. But it seems to me the thread title gets it backwards. A'Brakel (as I read the excerpt) teaches that logically, though not in the "natural order," regeneration precedes faith. The denial of "chronology" positively asserts something like simultaneity.
 

De Jager

Puritan Board Sophomore
In real space time faith and regeneration often aren't separable. Logically, though, regeneration precedes faith.

Could you direct me to any writings that expound upon this principle? Specifically, the case wherein regeneration and faith are separable in time.

Thanks
 

Taylor

Puritan Board Graduate
In real space time faith and regeneration often aren't separable. Logically, though, regeneration precedes faith.

I know that. But the two statements I quoted from the excerpt are contradictory. The first says faith succeeds regeneration, and the second says it precedes regeneration. I understand the logical-temporal distinction perfectly well; that’s standard Reformed soteriology. I just don’t understand, either in isolation or in context, how the two quoted statements fit together.
 

BayouHuguenot

Puritanboard Clerk
I know that. But the two statements I quoted from the excerpt are contradictory. The first says faith succeeds regeneration, and the second says it precedes regeneration. I understand the logical-temporal distinction perfectly well; that’s standard Reformed soteriology. I just don’t understand, either in isolation or in context, how the two quoted statements fit together.

Faith succeeds regeneration logically
Faith precedes regeneration chronologically (or at least sometimes).
 

Charles Johnson

Puritan Board Sophomore
Brakel's treatment of the ordo salutis is confused and confusing. I believe the translator tried to clarify this with a footnoting saying that Brakel was not saying what it indeed appeared that he was saying. Better than trying to understand Brakel, who even at his best can be quite idiosyncratic, is to simply read a clearer author - a Turretin, Perkins, or AA Hodge.
 

John Yap

Puritan Board Freshman
I read the natural order as the logical order. Chronological order is simultaneous.
Reading Brakel, he sees the regeneration as the whole new life in Christ, received in union with Christ, which is apprehended by faith.
The pre-faith illumination work of the Spirit is not seen by him as regeneration, rather, as effectual calling by which the Spirit works with the word.

What he believes also accords to the Belgic C. 24
"We believe that this true faith, being wrought in man by the hearing of the Word of God and the operation of the Holy Spirit, sanctifies him and makes him a new man, causing him to live a new life, and freeing him from the bondage of sin."

I think it all boils down to him believing that since regeneration is the renewal of the whole man in Christ, it cannot be seen as happening before faith in Christ.
 

BayouHuguenot

Puritanboard Clerk
Unregenerate people are spiritually dead. They don't have faith, by definition. Regeneration precedes faith. No matter what that Broccoli guy said.

You just rejected a key aspect of historical Reformed theology. There is a distinction between a logical order and a temporal order.
 

User20004000

Puritan Board Sophomore
You just rejected a key aspect of historical Reformed theology. There is a distinction between a logical order and a temporal order.

What he said is true: “Unregenerate people are spiritually dead. They don't have faith, by definition. Regeneration precedes faith.” What key aspect did he deny?
 

BayouHuguenot

Puritanboard Clerk
What he said is true: “Unregenerate people are spiritually dead. They don't have faith, by definition. Regeneration precedes faith.” What key aspect did he deny?

I guess from reading Hodge and others we can't always pinpoint the exact moment where regeneration stops and faith begins, which is why older writers would make a distinction between logical and chronological. I'll qualify it and say it isn't a major plank, to be sure, but older Reformed writers did talk about it. And calling a father in the faith "brocoli" wasn't helpful, either.
 

BayouHuguenot

Puritanboard Clerk
Another angle is that some continental writers used "Regeneration" in a broader sense encompassing the Christian life. If that is how a'Brakel is using it, then faith would come first.
 

User20004000

Puritan Board Sophomore
I guess from reading Hodge and others we can't always pinpoint the exact moment where regeneration stops and faith begins, which is why older writers would make a distinction between logical and chronological. I'll qualify it and say it isn't a major plank, to be sure, but older Reformed writers did talk about it. And calling a father in the faith "brocoli" wasn't helpful, either.

Still, the only way I can make sense of your two posts I recently commented on is by inferring you mean that it’s chronologically possible to have faith prior regeneration, but that would seem to undermine your other position that regeneration logically precedes faith. Given that regeneration precedes faith logically, then how can regeneration ever follow faith in a temporal sense?
 

User20004000

Puritan Board Sophomore
Another angle is that some continental writers used "Regeneration" in a broader sense encompassing the Christian life. If that is how a'Brakel is using it, then faith would come first.

That’s to read him out of context. It would also undermine any distinction he was possibly trying to make. He’d not just be confused but also equivocal.
 

User20004000

Puritan Board Sophomore
“I guess from reading Hodge and others we can't always pinpoint the exact moment where regeneration stops and faith begins,”

I don’t detect such a problem but again, wherever faith begins it never begins (logically or temporally) before regeneration. The flesh profiteth nothing.
 

John Yap

Puritan Board Freshman
Here would be Brakel's dilemma to those who posit a logical order of regen then faith, which is, "How does a man have Spiritual Life (Regeneration), before faith in Christ if Spiritual life is always held in union and flowing from Christ?"

The typical reply would be, "Well then, how then does a dead man believe in Christ then if faith comes before regen?"

Brakel would answer that this comes under Effectual Calling, Spirit and Word working together (but will not label this as regeneration). This is in the chapter preceding Regeneration in CRS.

He would cite 1 Pet 1.23 "been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever,"

So you may disagree with Brakel, but try your best to understand him. The common understanding of Regeneration was not held onto uniformly till the latter 17th century.

And yes the Belgic Confession Art 24 would point to the Continental tradition as seeing regeneration as the "new man". Regeneration would relate more to sanctification then to "pre-faith quickening". Read more of this in Berkhof ST
 

PezLad

Puritan Board Freshman
John 3:3 New King James Version (NKJV)
3 Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born [a]again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”
Natural birth --> sight. Spiritual birth --> faith. Faith is a necessary fixed fruit and effect of the new birth.
 
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top