Ordo Salutis and the placement of Regeneration.

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JJF

Puritan Board Freshman
What would you say to a T.U.I.P. Calvinist who avers that regeneration comes after we are given faith by God. Now, this guy (a friend; the same one I mentioned in the Limited Atonement thread) affirms that God is the agent in our salvation, but he just doesn't think that it's necessary to place regeneration in the traditional order.

I assent to the Ordo Salutis, but, for this breed of Calvinist, what theological problems arise out of believing regeneration comes after we are given faith. What are some compelling exegetical and theological arguments against such a belief.

Note: I've read both Murray and Berkhof on this subject, and, as far as I can recall, neither of them deal with the consequences of placing regeneration after we are given faith. I just read through Murray's Chapter on Regeneration in Redemption Accomplished and Applied.
 

Puritanhead

Puritan Board Professor
Regeneration comes after faith?
:)

That is news to me.

I equate regeneration with being brought from spiritual death to spiritual life, and it is the impetus for faith. Recollect the teachings of the Apostle Paul on the condition of the natural man, and Ephesians 1-2.

I did my first and ambitious sermon on the ordo salutis, as I wanted to inaugurate my pulpit ministry with a bang, and Redemption Accomplished and Applied was very helpful as I fathomed that doctrine. Good book. Murray is a very good teacher.

Check out Monergism.com - Ordo Salutis and the Perkins Tree.

[Edited on 2-1-2006 by Puritanhead]
 

Semper Fidelis

2 Timothy 2:24-25
Staff member
I would say that your friend does not believe in the T either if he believes that faith can precede regeneration on a very practical level.

Remember, what is affirmed in the idea of our fallen state, our corruption, is that we have hearts of stone. We are dead. We are haters of God. We run from God and not to Him.

A heart of stone does not respond to the call of the Gospel. It gnashes its teeth and wants to stone the preacher of it (Acts 7).

What your friend is essentially arguing for is that we believe and trust the Gospel with a heart that is still hostile to God. Our faith would be in something that we hate with all our heart. After we then act against our nature and trust and love something we hate, God then gives us the heart to love the thing we hated when we made the choice but now we'll feel good about the decision after the fact.

It makes no sense. It is no different than the Arminian idea that we trust before we are given a nature that allows us to trust.

[Edited on 2-2-2006 by SemperFideles]
 

JJF

Puritan Board Freshman
Originally posted by Puritanhead
Regeneration comes after faith?
:)

That is news to me.

I equate regeneration with being brought from spiritual death to spiritual life, and it is the impetus for faith. Recollect the teachings of the Apostle Paul on the condition of the natural man, and Ephesians 1-2.

I did my first and ambitious sermon on the ordo salutis, as I wanted to inaugurate my pulpit ministry with a bang, and Redemption Accomplished and Applied was very helpful as I fathomed that doctrine. Good book. Murray is a very good teacher.

Check out Monergism.com - Ordo Salutis and the Perkins Tree.

[Edited on 2-1-2006 by Puritanhead]

Ryan, no doubt this position is ridiculous. But I don't recall Murray dealing with this type of argument: Christ raises us from the dead by giving us faith, and then we are regenerated. I'm going to read through Ephesians 1-2, and see if I can develop some reasons why holding such a view is indubitably dangerous.


Here's a sample of what I'm dealing with. Maybe this will help you assess whether this position is unique (i.e., not a historical formulation), or whether this formulation has already been refuted by great and respected theologians. Ok, here is the sample: Paul says in Ephesians 2:5 , "even when you were dead in trespasses and sins, [God] made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved),..." He would say that we are made alive when God grants us faith. Ergo, we are not regenerated, until we are given faith.

Does this help? Let me know if I can clarify anything in my post. I'll keep prayerfully reading over Ephesians as well as other important passages. Your help is valued.
 

pastorway

Puritan Board Senior
Can a dead man have living faith?

Ephesians 2:1-10 - Life, Faith, Works (in that order)

And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others. But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.

Phillip
 

TimeRedeemer

Puritan Board Freshman
He might be confusing regeneration with sanctification. If that's the case he may have come across some bad influence conflating sanctification and justification. (I know that sounds confusing, but the person is confused to begin with.)

Anyway, to what extent is this subject even accessable to a person other than via experience? I know regeneration precedes faith because I've experienced the process.
 

Semper Fidelis

2 Timothy 2:24-25
Staff member
Originally posted by JJF
Ryan, no doubt this position is ridiculous. But I don't recall Murray dealing with this type of argument: Christ raises us from the dead by giving us faith, and then we are regenerated. I'm going to read through Ephesians 1-2, and see if I can develop some reasons why holding such a view is indubitably dangerous.
Let me just restate what you said (Remember: regeneration means being raised from the dead):

"...no doubt this position is ridiculous. But I don't recall Murray dealing with this type of argument: Christ regenerates us by giving us faith, and then we are regenerated...."

Do you understand why Murray does not have to deal with that statement?

Here's a sample of what I'm dealing with. Maybe this will help you assess whether this position is unique (i.e., not a historical formulation), or whether this formulation has already been refuted by great and respected theologians. Ok, here is the sample: Paul says in Ephesians 2:5 , "even when you were dead in trespasses and sins, [God] made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved),..." He would say that we are made alive when God grants us faith. Ergo, we are not regenerated, until we are given faith.

Does this help? Let me know if I can clarify anything in my post. I'll keep prayerfully reading over Ephesians as well as other important passages. Your help is valued.
So is he arguing this:
1. We are dead (unregenerate)
2. God makes us alive (regenerates)
3. Gives us faith
4. Which makes us alive (regenerates)

OR this:
1. We are dead
2. God gives faith to a dead person (unregenerate)
3. The dead person acts like a live person
4. Which makes him alive (regenerate)

I think there is either a basic misunderstanding of deadness or a confusion of what it means to be made alive.
 

JJF

Puritan Board Freshman
SemperFideles wrote: "Let me just restate what you said (Remember: regeneration means being raised from the dead):

"...no doubt this position is ridiculous. But I don't recall Murray dealing with this type of argument: Christ regenerates us by giving us faith, and then we are regenerated...."

I apologize for this terribly constructed statement (pretend I erased it); I should have been a little more carelful. I meant to say that he believes: Christ gives us faith, and, after giving us faith, we become regenerate.

I understand why Murray wouldn't have to refute my previous statement, but could you help me understand why my corrected statement is screwy? I know it is, but I can't put my finger on it exactly (can you relate). Again, excuse my beffudling statement.

I think (and this is only a guess) that he would say this:
1. We are dead.
2. God gives faith to an unregenate person.
3. The dead person is now regenerate.
 

JJF

Puritan Board Freshman
Originally posted by SemperFideles
I would say that your friend does not believe in the T either if he believes that faith can precede regeneration on a very practical level.

Remember, what is affirmed in the idea of our fallen state, our corruption, is that we have hearts of stone. We are dead. We are haters of God. We run from God and not to Him.

A heart of stone does not respond to the call of the Gospel. It gnashes its teeth and wants to stone the preacher of it (Acts 7).

What your friend is essentially arguing for is that we believe and trust the Gospel with a heart that is still hostile to God. Our faith would be in something that we hate with all our heart. After we then act against our nature and trust and love something we hate, God then gives us the heart to love the thing we hated when we made the choice but now we'll feel good about the decision after the fact.

It makes no sense. It is no different than the Arminian idea that we trust before we are given a nature that allows us to trust.

[Edited on 2-2-2006 by SemperFideles]

He doesn't deny Total Depravity, or at least he says he doesn't. He wouldn't say that we believe on our own. With that in mind, will you scrutinize my post to your last post?
 

Semper Fidelis

2 Timothy 2:24-25
Staff member
Originally posted by JJF
SemperFideles wrote: "Let me just restate what you said (Remember: regeneration means being raised from the dead):

"...no doubt this position is ridiculous. But I don't recall Murray dealing with this type of argument: Christ regenerates us by giving us faith, and then we are regenerated...."

I apologize for this terribly constructed statement (pretend I erased it); I should have been a little more carelful. I meant to say that he believes: Christ gives us faith, and, after giving us faith, we become regenerate.

I understand why Murray wouldn't have to refute my previous statement, but could you help me understand why my corrected statement is screwy? I know it is, but I can't put my finger on it exactly (can you relate). Again, excuse my beffudling statement.

I think (and this is only a guess) that he would say this:
1. We are dead.
2. God gives faith to an unregenate person.
3. The dead person is now regenerate.
Ok here is how you would deal with it:

1. We are spiritually dead. This means we are spiritually dead. We are Totally Depraved if you like. We are by nature children of wrath. We make decisions like other live people but they are spiritually dead decisions. We act according to a nature that hates God. We hate the Gospel in this condition because it reflects God who is our enemy.

OK, let's move onto number 2 since your friend accepts Total Depravity (or he says he does)

2. God gives faith to an unregenerate person. In other words, God gives faith to a dead person.

What?

What does it mean that a dead person has faith? Are they still, by nature, children of wrath? Do they still walk according to principles of this world? Are they still in the flesh, incaple of doing good? Can a dead person do anything spiritually alive and, if he does, in what way is he still dead?

In other words, is faith an act that spiritually dead people are capable of? Is it not, rather, an act of love toward God, which is at odds with a depraved (Totally) nature that hates God?

So does your friend agree that we are Totally depraved or not? Does he believe we are dead and incapable of seeing the Gospel as good? If he does then the only way we can see the Gospel as good is to be made alive to see it.

(John 3:3) Jesus answered him, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God."
How do we have faith in something we cannot even see?

Thus, if your friend accepts 1. then 2. is foolish and no need to deal with 3.

[Edited on 2-2-2006 by SemperFideles]
 

JJF

Puritan Board Freshman
1. We are spiritually dead. This means we are spiritually dead. We are Totally Depraved if you like. We are by nature children of wrath. We make decisions like other live people but they are spiritually dead decisions. We act according to a nature that hates God. We hate the Gospel in this condition because it reflects God who is our enemy.

OK, let's move onto number 2 since your friend accepts Total Depravity (or he says he does)

2. God gives faith to an unregenerate person. In other words, God gives faith to a dead person.

What?

What does it mean that a dead person has faith? Are they still, by nature, children of wrath? Do they still walk according to principles of this world? Are they still in the flesh, incaple of doing good? Can a dead person do anything spiritually alive and, if he does, in what way is he still dead?

In other words, is faith an act that spiritually dead people are capable of? Is it not, rather, an act of love toward God, which is at odds with a depraved (Totally) nature that hates God?

So does your friend agree that we are Totally depraved or not? Does he believe we are dead and incapable of seeing the Gospel as good? If he does then the only way we can see the Gospel as good is to be made alive to see it.

(John 3:3) Jesus answered him, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God."
How do we have faith in something we cannot even see?

Thus, if your friend accepts 1. then 2. is foolish and no need to deal with 3.

[Edited on 2-2-2006 by SemperFideles]

I wholeheartedly agree, and I already basically said the same thing to him as you've said above (This conversation has been going on for a couple of weeks now). I asked him: how can a dead man respond to the gospel? How can a dead man hear? Someone needs to quicken him, so that he can respond. I asserted that it is illogical to say that he can. He said that I'm inserting logic where Scripture doesn't. I said, "No, I'm not." He said, "yes, you are. Show me one verse where it puts regeneration before justification." I showed him Titus 3:5 among others, but he didn't like it or them either. I think that he's basically asking Scripture to say it the way he wants it.

He has read Grudhem's Systematic, and thinks he overuses logic. Perhaps, I should back off from the issue and pray. It often takes some time for a person to see the error of his ways. If he doesn't understand what Grudhem or I have said, then he probably won't accept any other arguements. I think that it's sufficienlty clear, but he thinks his understanding is abundantly clear. When arguements reach this point, then I guess it's probably foolish to repeat oneself over and over again.

Thank you, Rich.

[Edited on 2-2-06 by JJF]
 

JJF

Puritan Board Freshman
Originally posted by SemperFideles
No problem Joshua. I know how frustrating it can be.

Yeah, it's pretty frustrating. I emotionally and mentally exhausted with the whole thing. I think that I need a good night's rest.
 

WrittenFromUtopia

Puritan Board Graduate
I'm not sure regeneration ever stops. I don't think it is a "step" in a list of "steps" but that it is descriptive of the whole lifetime of a Christian, with sub-steps along the way, such as sanctification, perseverance, etc. Calvin uses it interchangably with repentance unto life in his Institutes I believe.
 

Semper Fidelis

2 Timothy 2:24-25
Staff member
Originally posted by WrittenFromUtopia
I'm not sure regeneration ever stops. I don't think it is a "step" in a list of "steps" but that it is descriptive of the whole lifetime of a Christian, with sub-steps along the way, such as sanctification, perseverance, etc. Calvin uses it interchangably with repentance unto life in his Institutes I believe.
While true in the sense that Calvin uses it, Joshua's friend cannot even understand the most basic use of the term much less a more mature understanding at this point.
 
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