Why does the WCF skip Regeneration?

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Timmay

Puritan Board Freshman
The WCF goes from effectual calling to justification. Why does it skip regeneration?

Or is it wrapped up in chapter 14, saving faith? If so, why is it placed after justification?


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C. M. Sheffield

Puritan Board Graduate
The WCF goes from effectual calling to justification. Why does it skip regeneration?

Or is it wrapped up in chapter 14, saving faith? If so, why is it placed after justification?

It doesn't skip it. It is wrapped up in Chapter 10, Of Effectual Calling (WCF 10.1).

All those whom God hath predestinated unto life, and those only, he is pleased, in his appointed and accepted time, effectually to call, by his Word and Spirit, out of that state of sin and death, in which they are by nature, to grace and salvation, by Jesus Christ; enlightening their minds spiritually and savingly to understand the things of God, taking away their heart of stone, and giving unto them a heart of flesh; renewing their wills, and, by his almighty power, determining them to that which is good, and effectually drawing them to Jesus Christ: yet so, as they come most freely, being made willing by his grace.
 
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Edward

Puritanboard Commissioner
See footnote f to Chapter 9, Paragraph 3.

3. Man, by his fall into a state of sin, hath wholly lost all ability of will to any spiritual good accompanying salvation:d so as, a natural man, being altogether averse from that good,e and dead in sin,f is not able, by his own strength, to convert himself, or to prepare himself thereunto.g

f.
Eph. 2:1, 5. And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins.… Even when we were dead in sins, [God] hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved) … Col. 2:13. And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses
 
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C. M. Sheffield

Puritan Board Graduate
The close identification of Effectual Calling with Regeneration in the Confession of Faith may be further observed in paragraph three of Chapter 10:

Elect infants, dying in infancy, are regenerated, and saved by Christ, through the Spirit, who worketh when, and where, and how he pleaseth: so also are all other elect persons who are incapable of being outwardly called by the ministry of the Word.

Here it is clear, they are speaking to the question of how elect infants or persons unable of being outwardly called are effectually called. The word they use for this, however, is "regenerated." This indicates the close if not synonymous association of the two terms.

Secondly, notice also the language of Chapter 13, Of Sanctification:

They, who are once effectually called, and regenerated, having a new heart, and a new spirit created in them, are further sanctified, really and personally, through the virtue of Christ's death and resurrection, by his Word and Spirit dwelling in them...

Here, the Confession uses the terms for effectual calling and regeneration as being synonymous by coupling them so closely together. It speaks of both of these as "having a new heart and new spirit created in them" which language was also used to describe the effectual calling in Chapter 10. From this it seems appaent, that the framers of the Confession of Faith saw effectual calling as one in the same with regeneration.

Of course there are esteemed brothers here much more competent in this subject than am I, and I welcome them to correct me if I am in anything amiss.
 
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Timmay

Puritan Board Freshman
The close identification of Effectual Calling with Regeneration in the Confession of Faith may be further observed in paragraph three of Chapter 10:

Elect infants, dying in infancy, are regenerated, and saved by Christ, through the Spirit, who worketh when, and where, and how he pleaseth: so also are all other elect persons who are incapable of being outwardly called by the ministry of the Word.

Here it is clear, they are speaking to the question of how elect infants or persons unable of being outwardly called are effectually called. The word they use for this, however, is "regenerated." This indicates the close if not synonymous association of the two terms.

Secondly, notice also the language of Chapter 13, Of Sanctification:

They, who are once effectually called, and regenerated, having a new heart, and a new spirit created in them, are further sanctified, really and personally, through the virtue of Christ's death and resurrection, by his Word and Spirit dwelling in them...

Here, the Confession uses the terms for effectual calling and regeneration as being synonymous by coupling them so closely together. It speaks of both of these as "having a new heart and new spirit created in them" which language was also used to describe the effectual calling in Chapter 10. From this it seems appaent, that the framers of the Confession of Faith saw effectual calling as one in the same with regeneration.

Of course there are esteemed brothers here much more competent in this subject than am I, and I welcome them to correct me if I am in anything amiss.

So is effectual calling and regeneration being synonymous a 17th century understanding of the ordo salutis? Current systematic theologies split them.

Or perhaps just a more economical way of writing for a confession?


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bookslover

Puritan Board Doctor
It's such a great document. It's hard to find mistakes in the WCF. Those divines knew what they are about.
 

C. M. Sheffield

Puritan Board Graduate
So is effectual calling and regeneration being synonymous a 17th century understanding of the ordo salutis? Current systematic theologies split them.

Or perhaps just a more economical way of writing for a confession?
I would not venture to speak for why modern theologians have divided effectual calling and regeneration. My default assumption is that it owes to the incipient Arminianism inherent in that mindset.
 

alexandermsmith

Puritan Board Junior
Effectual calling is the experience of regeneration. Although they can be distinguished (effectual calling is a process; regeneration is instantaneous), they are inextricably linked (and I wouldn't say they are synonyms). However long or short the process of effectual calling is, regeneration only occurs as the culmination of effectual calling; effectual calling will always result in regeneration. In the experience of the believer they are a whole. Whereas in other parts of the Reformed church (particularly the Dutch Reformed, from what I'm told) regeneration itself is viewed as a process, even a lifelong process (essentially sanctification).

The Confession is not a systematic theology (where the distinct elements of the ordo salutis can be separated out and examined in detail) but a statement of belief. It is the belief of the Westminster Confession that effectual calling and regeneration are one whole event and so they are treated together, not separately as if effectual calling is one step and then, having ended, regeneration begins. So it would be incorrect to say the Confession skips regeneration. It certainly addresses it: in effectual calling, where it is located.
 
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