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"...if anyone makes the assistance of grace depend on the humility or obedience of man and does not agree that it is a gift of grace itself that we are obedient and humble, he contradicts the Apostle who says, "What have you that you did not receive?" (1 Cor. 4:7), and, "But by the grace of God I am what I am" (1 Cor. 15:10). (Council of Orange: Canon 6)

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    We are a community of confessing believers who love the gospel of Jesus Christ, affirm the Biblical and Christ-exalting truths of the Reformation such as the five solas, the doctrines of grace, monergistic regeneration, and the redemptive historical approach to interpreting the Scriptures.

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  • « Fun Stuff by Pastor John Samson | Main | What is the Gospel? by C. J. Mahaney »

    Resurrection, Not Human Potential

    Today, I wanted to begin a series on the Resurrection, and hoped others on the blog would also post some of their own thoughts on it since we are close to Easter. Originally I was going to start with a posting on the physical resurrection and its relation to history, and how this historic event itself sets Christianity apart from all other religions, who either speculate or believe in mysticism. But since I was having a discussion with a visitor about our spiritual resurrection (regeneration) I wanted to post some of the questions posed to me on free will, human potential, and the difference between monergistic and synergistic regeneration (i.e. spiritual resurrection).

    In response to our belief that salvation is by "grace alone" a visitor who embraces synergism questioned me about how faith, then, related at all to salvation:

    Visitor: What is faith to you? And what do you make of God’s repeated references to faith and belief in the context of salvation? And is your interpretation one which makes faith and belief meaningful? A word should
    not be interpreted to be redundant or without meaning—I think this would apply especially when speaking of God’s inerrant and holy word.

    I affirm with the Bible, together with those in the Reformation tradition, that God freely offers/commands unto sinners life and salvation by Jesus Christ; requiring of them faith in Him, that they may be saved, and promising to give unto all those that are ordained unto eternal life His Holy Spirit (who Jesus sends), to disarm their natural hostility, to open and soften their hearts to the gospel that they may be willing, and able to believe. The grace of faith, whereby the elect are effectually enabled to believe to the saving of their souls, is the work of the Spirit of Christ in their hearts, and is ordinarily wrought by the ministry of the Word. (WCF) The preacher casts forth the seed of the gospel and it falls on dormant soil. Our naturally hardened hearts will reject the gospel unless and until the Holy Spirit plows up the fallow ground, and germinates the seed of the gospel through regeneration. Faith is not produced by an unregenerate heart. Jesus says, "come to me", but he also says "...no one can come to me" How do we reconcile this? Because the next word is UNLESS God grants it. Spirit gives birth to spirit. (John 6:63-65)

    Council of Orange CANON 6 in the sixth century said.

    If anyone says that God has mercy upon us when, apart from his grace, we believe, will, desire, strive, labor, pray, watch, study, seek, ask, or knock, but does not confess that it is by the infusion and inspiration of the Holy Spirit within us that we have the faith, the will, or the strength to do all these things as we ought; or if anyone makes the assistance of grace depend on the humility or obedience of man and does not agree that it is a gift of grace itself that we are obedient and humble, he contradicts the Apostle who says, "What have you that you did not receive?" (1 Cor. 4:7), and, "But by the grace of God I am what I am" (1 Cor. 15:10).

    Visitor: I suppose I have a higher view of human nature (and its potential in Christ) than you do. [the visitor asked this of me in the context of a discussion of their belief in a "free will"]:

    Response:

    Unregenerate people need spiritual resurrection, not improvement. Paul, in Philippians, defines the 'true circumcision' as having no confidence in the flesh.

    A biblical discussion of the "free will" issue is not related to our human natures' potential in Christ, it is specifically a discussion about what his potential is without Christ and the Holy Spirit. What moral choices can unregenerate people make? Can unregenerate people believe the gospel? Consider the four-fold state of man. (1) Before the fall, (2 ) after the fall, (3) after regeneration and (4) when we are glorified. Discussion of free will traditionally has been related to the condition of the will of those without Christ (after the fall), as it should be. Do they have a free will or are their wills in bondage to a corruption of nature? The question comes down to this and I hope you prayerfully consider the biblical answer to it in your own heart:

    Is faith produced by our unregenerated human nature?

    Visitor:I can cite far more [instances of free will] where it appears that man is simply making up his own mind (here’s a few from the first few chapters of Mark: 1:16 (Jesus said “follow me” and they followed); 1:20; 1:45 (Jesus said “say nothing” and the healed leper spoke freely); 2:12 (Jesus said “arise, take up your bed” and the man rose and took up his bed); 2:14; 3:5 (Jesus said “stretch out your hand” and the man did so).

    Response: These passages you cite are quite irrelevant to a biblical discussion of free will. Biblically when we say man has no free will, we are speaking specifically that he is in bondage to a corruption of nature. "Bondage" is a word we use to express a total lack of freedom. That he is not free to believe the gospel apart from the Holy Spirit. This only applies to unregenerate persons. It is the condition of man apart from the regeneration of the Holy Spirit. His will is in bondage to sin ... that means BY necessity he always chooses to reject Christ unless the Spirit acts to illumine his mind and change the disposition of his heart, quicken him etc... We are not speaking about volition in everyday affairs, though these also are driven by necessity by who we are. We all agree that people can choose what they desire volitionally but this merely affirms that man has a will. Biblically speaking Satan has taken unregenerate persons captive to do his will (2 Tim 2:25), that is why the passage says that God may grant them repentance so they may escape his snare. We do not escape his snare by willing it. We do not believe so God will free us, we are freed therefore we believe. We are given the mind of Christ that we may believe, we do not believe without the mind of Christ. Paul in 1 Cor 2 says, "we have received, not the spirit ofthe world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may know the things freely given to us by God."

    The Scripture allows that man has will and that it is self-determined, so that if he does anything evil, it should be his responsibility to to his own voluntary choosing. We do not believe in coercion and force, because this contradicts the nature of the will and cannot coexist with it. We deny that choice is free, because through man’s innate wickedness it is of necessity driven to what is evil and cannot seek anything but evil. Here we can deduce what a great difference there is between necessity and coercion. For we do not say that man is dragged unwillingly into sinning, but that because his will is corrupt he is held captive under the yoke of sin and therefore of necessity will in an evil way. For where there is bondage, there is necessity. But it makes a great difference whether the bondage is voluntary or coerced. We locate the necessity to sin precisely in corruption of the will, from which follows that it is self-determined. (Calvin)

    Even you have admitted that a person cannot believe the gospel without some intervention of the Holy Spirit. Why is that? What is man without the Holy Spirit? He, of necessity, thinks of the gospel and spiritual things as foolish and cannot understand them (1 Cor 2:14). He must be spiritually regenerate before having spiritual thoughts. But you think that God's grace is to unbelievers is something less than regeneration. So how can unregenerate people have spiritual thoughts?

    We affirm with the Bible that an unspiritual man cannot believe the gospel because he cannot understand or believe in the beauty and excellency of Christ. His very nature makes this a moral impossibility. Jesus says some do not believe BECAUSE they are not his sheep. (John 10:27)

    Visitor claims: that I misrepresent synergism when I "suggest that [they] believe that it is man alone rather than the cooperation of man with God [that saves him].

    Response:

    Again, do unregenerate persons have the moral capacity to believe the gospel?

    Since all men have a general "enabling grace" in the synergistic system, and this grace falls short of regeneration ... then why do persons respond differently, in their still "unregenerate" state, to the gospel?. Why is one person's natural hostility disarmed and not the other? What makes the two persons who hear the gospel to differ? Is it man's will alone, or grace, in your belief system that makes them to differ? ... for all men have the same grace according to you ... so it was something independent and autonomous from God and His grace that ultimately produced faith in one person and not the other. So there is indeed an element of human monergism there in all so-called synergistic belief systems.

    Lets envision a real life example: if God gives the same grace to two unsaved men who hear the gospel, one believes and not the other, what makes the two persons to differ? Grace? A little more grace? no not to you. If not then the answer and boast of salvation is ultimately in man. But what principle is found in the one who believed and not the other? Was he born with more gifts to understand these things? Was he more spiritual sensitive in his natural state than other natural men. How can an unspiritual man be spiritual at all? In your system it is not grace which makes them to differ since both have grace, and if not grace than it is MAN WHO ALONE DETERMINES Who is SAVED based on whether you allow God to save you or not. This again, leaves room for boasting (subconsciously or not) where any synergist could consistently pray like this:

    "thank you Lord I am not like other men who do not have faith, when you gave grace to all, my neighbor did not make use of it, BUT I DID."

    Such boasting us just under the surface of those who think that their faith, not grace, is what made then differ from others. Can you thank God for your faith? Or do you still thank yourself?

    On the other hand, all persons on this blog affirm that our regeneration or quickening in Christ is by Christ alone, not by some work of cooperation between man and God to bring about salvation. It is a spiritual resurrection from spiritual death. And this is the historic position and basis for the Reformation. Far from saying this boastfully, it is rather for the very purpose that man will not boast. It is hard to hear because deep down man wants to contribute something to his salvation, be it ever so small. But the teaching of grace alone puts all hope in self to death. The Spirit gives us life that we may believe, crying "ABBA father." The unregenerate do not and cannot make this cry in their hearts, they do not see the excellency of Christ and any belief that falls short of God first renewing us, quickening us to life, is a belief fallen man is not dead in sin, does not hate God but has some potential in him. But unregenerate man has no potential. He does not need to be improved but made totally new. He needs to be reborn. To affirm, as you do that unregenerate man can believe the gospel while still unregenerate is to say that he only needs improvement because he is already able to do spiritual things.

    The very humility to believe, was is either God's grace or self? If of God then why don't all men have it? See there is some aspect which you contribute apart from grace.

    1 John 1:5 the Apostle Paul clearly teaches that Regeneration precedes faith: "Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God" ...The verb tense make's john's intention unmistakable: Every one who goes on believing [present, continuous action] that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God [perfect, completed action with abiding effects]. " Faith is the evidence of new birth, not the cause of it."

    On the other hand, a synergist cannot thank God for his faith. He can thank God for all other things but this is the one thing which he can boast. Christ did many things for him, but this small part of the price of redemption was the synergists' own doing, that he can boast over his neighbor. We were saved "by grace through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God" It is his gift so that no one can boast.

    To show this is more commonly assumed, Paul actually thanks God for the very faith of the Thessalonians. How can he thank God unless even the faith itself was a gift:

    "For this reason we also constantly thank God that when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men, but for what it really is, the word of God, which also performs its work in you who believe."

    He thanks God that they actually accepted God's word. Why, because it was His doing. "Therefore, it is by His doing that you are in Christ Jesus." (1 Cor. 1:30)

    Closely observe 1 Cor. 1:22-24 --- it states the gospel is preached to all but only those called by God believe: "For indeed Jews ask for signs, and Greeks search for wisdom; but we preach Christ crucified, to Jews a stumbling block, and to Gentiles foolishness, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God."

    Both Jews and Gentiles disbelieve the gospel for various reasons, but those who are called come to know Christ.

    Visitor: But, as I said, John 3 does explain the “how” [of regeneration]

    Response: I disagree ....The Gospel of John, including John 3, many times explains that the new birth is an act of God alone ...born of God.

    "That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit." (John 3:6) verse 20 also says those who believe in Christ do so because it was wrought of God (worked by God) i.e. God did a work of grace in them.

    Likewise 1:13 of the same gospel says faith (from verse 12) is not the result of man's will --- "who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God." (John 1:13)

    Later in the same gospel Jesus explains that no one believes the gospel unless God grants it because "...the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing; .(John 6:63-65)

    in fact, Whenever "born again" is used in the Bible it is never once spoken of in the imperative (a command or something we must do). It is something God does.

    Visitor: The point I’m making is that the monergistic view and the synergistic view both find support in Scripture.

    Response: The dictionary definition of monergism is as follows: "In theol., The doctrine that the Holy Spirit is the only efficient agent in regeneration - that the human will possesses no inclination to holiness until regenerated, and therefore cannot cooperate in regeneration."

    So in light of the meaning of monergism, there is not one instance in Scripture which says that our faith is what causes regeneration, or that it precedes regeneration. If you can show any instance of the synergistic assertion that faith precedes regeneration I will embrace your belief that both positions are supported. But as it is you have not provided me with any. It would be like saying that the Scripture supports a view that a person can believe the gospel without the Holy Spirit changing his heart.

    Visitor: It is ridiculous for one side to suggest that they glorify God more based on their understanding of this matter. That itself is pride.

    Response:
    It is not a matter of sides ---. This is not some peripheral matter. Either we are saved by grace alone or we are not? That is what is at stake here. No need for ad hominem arguments about pride for the issue comes down to whether we believe in a grace that saves by itself or one that does not and merely gives all men an opportunity. This is profoundly important. The degree that we misrepresent God ,to that same degree we commit idolatry. I cannot not stand by idle when the synergist view (totally unsupported by Scripture) that man can think good thoughts about Christ before regenerate is promoted. We are all guilty of our idolatries at some level, and I pray the Lord continue to remove the wickedness from my own heart, but your belief that an unspiritual man can think spiritual thoughts and do spiritual acts is a profound misapprehension of the gospel. If you want to speak of pride, it is the belief that we can come up with faith on our own without God granting it to us, that faith is the product of our unregenerate human nature. As long as you believe we believe before we are regenerate, then part of your salvation is attributed to self and, not only robs God of glory, but has no biblical support.

    John Owen once said it rightly, “To say that we are able by our own efforts to think good thoughts or give God spiritual obedience before we are spiritually regenerate is to overthrow the gospel and the faith of the universal church in all ages.”

    Thank you Lord that salvation is by grace alone in Christ alone, that even the very humility and desire to believe is by your grace. All glory to God alone for our salvation...

    Solus Christus
    J.W. Hendryx

    Posted by John on April 7, 2006 01:49 PM

    Comments

    I have found that the resistance to the Doctrines of Grace is nearly always rooted in ignorance of what it really says and means. The Free Will adherants still pray for people to repent and be saved. That is puzzeling in itself. They can't have it both ways, but they insist on it.

    In Christ

    Mike Ratliff

    Wow. Very well said, Mr. Hendryx. I shall have to keep some of your arguments for the Doctrines of Grace in mind for future reference.

    I have an Arminian friend, and we discuss this for fun. He has told me that a 'choice' is not an action of works, therefore, under the Arminian version of salvation, there is still 'no call to boast' (Eph. 2:9). I, however, differ - if the salvation is contingent upon your choice, then is it not contingent upon you? He doesn't think so, but I do.

    Anyways, the topic makes for interesting discussions when the opposite opinions clash...

    God bless,

    A. Shepherd
    The Aspiring Theologian Blog: A Reformed Theology Blog

    Dear John H.

    I just noticed that you used some of my comments in this new post. Here’s my comments in the context in which they appear—some of them were not intended as affirmative arguments for free will, but rather stated in direct response to you comments (i.e., the passages cited where it appears that man is making up his own mind) and some of them seemed to have been ignored (i.e., the Bible’s use of the terms “will” and “willing”). Basically, I define free will as freedom from coercion. The biblical support for this view is based on (1) the very existence of the law or a choice presupposes the ability to choose to obey or disobey and (2) the use of the terms “will” and “willing” throughout the Bible.

    By the way, when I said "human nature (and its potential in Christ)," I meant this in contrast to "fallen human nature." In other words, I was referring to human nature as created in the image of God--which God saw along with everything else in creation and said that it was "very good."

    Unfortunately, I will not be around this weekend to provide any further input.

    Have a nice weekend,
    Chong


    Dear John H.,

    I've had another long day, but I want to respond to what you said about free will. (This may be my last comment, I really need to post something new on my own site.)

    We would not be engaged in this debate if Scripture was as clear as you suggest. For every passage you can cite referring to God softening/hardening man’s heart, I can cite far more where it appears that man is simply making up his own mind (here’s a few from the first few chapters of Mark: 1:16 (Jesus said “follow me” and they followed); 1:20; 1:45 (Jesus said “say nothing” and the healed leper spoke freely); 2:12 (Jesus said “arise, take up your bed” and the man rose and took up his bed); 2:14; 3:5 (Jesus said “stretch out your hand” and the man did so)). I believe that God directed men like Pharaoh and Cyrus to accomplish some necessary purpose. But that is the exception and not the rule. The norm is that man makes up his own mind. Its occurrence is subtle and frequent in Scripture, but likewise in everyday life.

    I did not expect my statement that God created man with free will to be so controversial. I thought everyone for the most part agreed that man had free will, they just define it differently. I attend a school that believes in Calvinism and its teaching on free will is that man is free but he does not have the ability to do otherwise.

    I define free will as freedom from coercion (which is a basic dictionary definition). The Bible often speaks of freedom in reference to something, such as freedom from prison, freedom from sin, or the freedom we have in Christ. But for what we are speaking of here, instead of using the term “freedom” or “free will,” the Bible simply uses the term “will” or “willing.” When a person wills to do something, he does so freely unless there is coercion. Freedom is assumed. If God or something else coerces a person to respond in a certain way, the person would not be doing it willingly. The term “will” or “willing” is used throughout Scripture. For example: “Then they called Rebekah and said to her, ‘Will you go with this man?’ And she said, ‘I will go.’” (Gen. 35:5) We can assume that Rebekah responded freely. It is reading into the text to assume that she said she will but really had no choice about it. Here’s another example: “Take from among you a contribution to the LORD; whoever is of a willing heart, let him bring it as the LORD's contribution: gold, silver, and bronze.” (Ex. 25:5) It would be strange for Moses to instruct the people to give with a willing heart if they had no such ability. The Lord wanted willing sacrifices. An unwilling or a coerced sacrifice neither profits the person making it nor pleases the Lord who is asks of it.

    Free will is essential for a proper understanding of God and His purposes in this world. God created man and then He told him, do not eat from the tree of the garden of good and evil. This is the first statement of law to man. The very presence of the law presupposes the ability to choose to obey or disobey. If man did not have the ability to obey, then you are saying that Adam ate of the fruit because he had no choice but to disobey. And, if God created Adam to disobey, then God created a world with a latent defect, at best. And, if God created the world with a defect, then that implies that defect originated from God. And that cannot be, because God is perfect in all of His ways.

    You’ve probably heard the arguments that the presence of the law or a choice presupposes the ability to choose to obey or disobey. There are many biblical examples of God presenting man with a choice (the two obvious ones being the choice to obey the Mosaic law and the choice to accept Christ). Because I think this argument is common, I won’t explain it in detail. But that is in a nutshell my basis for believing in free will. Because “whosoever will” presupposes that whosoever can will.

    I suppose I have a higher view of human nature (and its potential in Christ) than you do. And I do not think that this is contrary to Scripture. Because I think it reflects the greatness of God as Creator. As I said, fallen human nature is still human nature. It can be redeemed and restored, that we might reflect to our full measure the glory of God.

    Shalom,
    Chong

    Dear John H.,

    I read over your comments again. I missed several things before. I would really appreciate it if you would not accuse me of (1) not glorifying God for certain aspects of my salvation and (2) equating my position with that of the Roman Catholics. This is entirely unnecessary. The point I’m making is that the monergistic view and the synergistic view both find support in Scripture. Based on our finite and incomplete knowledge concerning these things, we should not be so unchristian toward each other. If you are so convinced of your position that you think that you are beyond error on the subject, then you are incapable of seeing objectively.

    I’m an attorney and I write for the courts. My job is to be impartial and to see things objectively. I constantly read briefs from parties that are so one-sided and deceptive in their presentation of the law and facts. They are so invested in one side that they are incapable of seeing things objectively or from the other point of view.

    On the subject of predestination, I’m actually more inclined toward Calvinism than Arminianism. I say this because I know that God is sovereign and that man is utterly incapable of saving himself. I want to hear sound and valid arguments for Calvinism so that I could endorse it fully. But I’m finding that the matter cannot be resolved to any degree of certainty based on what God has revealed to us. In other words, it is too mysterious for full comprehension.

    It is ridiculous for one side to suggest that they glorify God more based on their understanding of this matter. That itself is pride.
    In your last comment, you have misrepresented the synergistic view. It’s easy to knock down a straw man. Parties in legal disputes do this all the time. No synergist believes that man can do anything apart from God’s grace. You seem to suggest that the synergist believes that it is man alone rather than the cooperation of man with God.

    Another thing that parties do all the time is quote text in cases that does not apply. The rule is that a case cannot be cited for a matter not addressed by the court. If the text deals with the distinction between that which is spiritual and that which is physical, it should not be quoted for explaining how a person becomes spiritual. The text clearly does not address that specific matter.

    John 3 does, however, address the question of “how.” The “how” is not in the part where Jesus says that a person must be born again. He simply says that we must be born again of water and the Spirit. He does not say how a person is born again. And reading divine election from “the wind blows where it wishes” is pretty flimsy. There are many equally plausible and reasonable interpretations of that verse. It certainly speaks more of the Spirit’s unseen nature rather than a definitive statement concerning sovereignty. But, as I said, John 3 does explain the “how.” Jesus says, “whoever believes in Him will have eternal life. For God so loved he world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:15-16) In his epistle, John further explains: “for whatever is born of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory that has overcome the world-- our faith. And who is the one who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?” (1 John 5:4-5) A person is born again when he responds to the gospel of God in faith.

    It is grace through faith. You are reinterpreting this as by grace without faith. But if you take out “faith” you do great injustice to our whole system of theology. This brings me to the topic of human responsibility and divine justice—which I don’t have time to address right now.

    But let me leave you with a few questions. What is faith to you? And what do you make of God’s repeated references to faith and belief in the context of salvation? And is your interpretation one which makes faith and belief meaningful? A word should not be interpreted to be redundant or without meaning—I think this would apply especially when speaking of God’s inerrant and holy word.

    Thanks for challenging my beliefs and causing me to think these things through more carefully.

    In Christ,
    Chong

    Chong

    I am thankful to God for you and for your post. You are a dear sister in Christ and these discussions are helpful to all. Thanks you for taking all the time to interact on this.... but if I may say, your response leads me to believe you may not have carefully read my posting.

    I am glad you believe man is free from coersion, for in this we are in full agreement. I have already understood this. But the issue is that you still believe fallen unregerate man can believe the gospel while in his unregenerate state, which is an unscriptural belief in free will.

    Slavery to sin is the context of the definition of "free will" and bondage in the traditional use of the term that has been debated through the centuries. The ONLY question that is important for Christainity is whether the will of free from bondage to sin or not. Can man choose to believe the gospel apart from regeneration? Or is he impotent because he is dead in sin? Your definition of free will honestly has nothing to do with salvation and so, my dear friend, what use does it have in a Christian context? We all believe the will is not coerced, the question is, can man free himself from sin by his act of faiith or does Christ set us free that we may believe? That is the heart of the issue. Is faith a gift or is it something one man has and not the other by nature? Is it grace which makes us to differ or our faith? Does God get all glory or only partial glory?

    Is man's will free by nature, or by regenerating grace?

    You can say God gets all glory all you want but your doctrine that unregenerate man can produce faith is contrary to this.

    Spiritual people do not have spiritual thoughts because they are dead to sin and in bondage to sin. You appear to believe that faith is produced by our unregenerated human nature (which is still in bondage). The biblical defintion of a lack of freedom or bondage is sin. Jesus says those who are not regenerate are "slaves of sin" (rom 6) .... a slave is not free.

    We can all agree that man is not coerced, but this still does not make him free. We should do our best define "freedom" as the Bible does, not as human philosophy does. The Bible defines freedom as holiness. Christ sets us free from bondage to sin the Bible says. AGAIN the word "slave" and bondage" mean that man is not free from sin. That is the freedom the Bible refers to . Since freedom means holiness, therefore God is the most free.

    If you recall you affired that man has a "free will" but the bible never speaks of unregenerate persons as being free. Not coerced, but in bondage to a corruption of nature.

    The historical debate about free will is precidely about sin and corruption, not coersion or whether a person can lift a tea kettle if asked to. The question is can they do any redemptive good without being regenerate.

    So my argument, in the context of your reposting your comments, still stands that you believe in human potential for the unregenerate. Saying that God helps with grace but we must decide is the same as saying it is up to natural man and is in league with the historic semi-pelagian position. People do not want to hear this and it makes them angry. Grace alone strips us of all hope from ourselves, and modern evangelicalsim is trying to build man up again, contrary to the sound doctrine of the historic Christian faith.

    I would like appreciate you thoughts on the following thoughts I have arrived at. First of all let me state that I believe that regeneration precedes faith, and that regeneration is solely the work of God which man plays no role. I believe regeneration is monergistic.
    But at the same time I see Scripture portraying a picture of repentance and belief as being synergistic in nature. God commands men to repent (Acts 17:30; Mark 1:15 etc). And God commands men to believe (1 John 3:23; Mark 1:15; Acts 16:31 etc). If repentance and belief were not synergistic in nature, then they shouldn't be in command form.

    Ken

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