Ordo salutis misrepresentation (or not)

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ThatItalianGuy

Puritan Board Freshman
Hello all,

I have recently been told by my non-Reformed Pastor that the Westminster confession says that:
When the believer is regenerated, justification and adoption both happen at the same time of regeneration.

When asked for a reference in the cathechism he refused to provide it (he literally said he didn’t have to).

Considering the little growing knowledge that I have of Reformed theology and the Cathechism (that I’ve read to research this matter) such claim sounds bogus to me.

What do you think? Does regeneration coincide chronologically with justification, adoption and conversion or is it possible for some to be regenerated and yet not be justified immediately, but perhaps days or even years later? Or is he right?

My understanding is that some may be born again for a time before converting, and it is only at conversion that justification and adoption happen.

Please bear with me for I am but a novice in the Reformed camp but I believe it to be the truth according to my studies of Scripture.

God bless.
 

Taylor

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
I think there has been some debate about this. From what I have read, it seems that Reformed theology doesn't insist on the simultaneity of regeneration and justification. Justification requires faith as its instrument to be exercised, and faith cannot happen without regeneration. So, it seems at least possible to conceive that someone could be regenerate for a length of time—be it short or long—before being justified/adopted.

At the same time, the Westminster Shorter Catechism seems to put them very close together:

The Spirit applieth to us the redemption purchased by Christ, by working faith in us, and thereby uniting us to Christ in our effectual calling (Q. 30; emphasis added).​
Effectual calling is the work of God's Spirit, whereby...he doth persuade and enable us to embrace Jesus Christ, freely offered to us in the gospel (Q. 31).​
 

ThatItalianGuy

Puritan Board Freshman
I think there has been some debate about this. From what I have read, it seems that Reformed theology doesn't insist on the simultaneity of regeneration and justification. Justification requires faith as its instrument to be exercised, and faith cannot happen without regeneration. So, it seems at least possible to conceive that someone could be regenerate for a length of time—be it short or long—before being justified/adopted.

At the same time, the Westminster Shorter Catechism seems to put them very close together:

The Spirit applieth to us the redemption purchased by Christ, by working faith in us, and thereby uniting us to Christ in our effectual calling (Q. 30; emphasis added).​
Effectual calling is the work of God's Spirit, whereby...he doth persuade and enable us to embrace Jesus Christ, freely offered to us in the gospel (Q. 31).​
Thanks for the reply. It is my understanding so far, even thanks to other threads, that there is somewhat of a debate still. So yeah, I agree with you on that.

Also it does seem true that logically regeneration would have to precede justification. I think the point you make about instrumentality is very good.

I guess that in regards to the “working faith in us” it has to be granted that regeneration must’ve occurred already, but I wouldn’t know how to argue that right now.

Also, to my understanding, just as anyone in church history, the Westminster divines were dealing with a particular situation at a particular time. Meaning that at that time this point of doctrine was not discussed as of later on. Am I seeing it the right way?
 

John Yap

Puritan Board Sophomore
This deserves a good discussion; for now I would point to "Of His own will He brought us forth by the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of His creatures." James 1.18
 

Taylor

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
I guess that in regards to the “working faith in us” it has to be granted that regeneration must’ve occurred already, but I wouldn’t know how to argue that right now.
The Westminster Standards essentially identify regeneration and effectual calling. (Notice that “regeneration” is only mentioned once in the entire Confession [WCF 28.1] and only twice in the Larger Catechism [questions 165 and 177], and these times only in the sections is baptism.) This is yet another area of debate. For Westminster, effectual calling is regeneration, and so the working of faith in a believer is part of regeneration.
 

ThatItalianGuy

Puritan Board Freshman
The Westminster Standards essentially identify regeneration and effectual calling. (Notice that “regeneration” is only mentioned once in the entire Confession [WCF 28.1] and only twice in the Larger Catechism [questions 165 and 177], and these times only in the sections is baptism.) This is yet another area of debate. For Westminster, effectual calling is regeneration, and so the working of faith in a believer is part of regeneration.
Very interesting, I think I’ll have to study the Cathechism more than I’ve expected. That effectual calling be regeneration makes sense though. It’s basically saying, like the Bible says in Romans 9, that it is the call, along all else God only does, which saves.

Rom 9:11 for the children being not yet born, neither having done anything good or bad, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth,”
 
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