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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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  • « The Sacrificial Lamb | Main | Fulfilled Prophecy »

    Irresistible Grace (Quotes)

    The doctrine of "irresistible grace" is easily understood. It is simply the belief that when God chooses to move in the lives of His elect and bring them from spiritual death to spiritual life, no power in heaven or on earth can stop Him from so doing. It is really nothing more than saying that it is God who regenerates sinners, and that freely. The doctrine has nothing to do with the fact that sinners "resist" the common grace of God and the Holy Spirit (they do) or that Christians do not live perfectly in the light of God's grace. It is simply the confession that when God chooses to raise His people to spiritual life, He does so without the fulfillment of any conditions on the part of the sinner. Just as Christ had the power and authority to raise Lazarus to life without obtaining his "permission" to do so, He is able to raise His elect to spiritual life with just as certain a result.

    Objections to irresistible grace are, by and large, actually objections to the previously established truths of the doctrines of grace. Obviously, if God is sovereign and freely and unconditionally elects a people unto salvation, and if man is dead in sin and enslaved to its power, God must be able to free those elect people in time and bring them to faith in Jesus Christ, and that by a grace that does not falter or depend upon human cooperation. Those who disbelieve God's right to kingship over His creation or the deadness of man in sin and put forward the tradition of man's autonomous will can hardly confess that God's grace actually saves without the freewill cooperation of man. From their perspective, the autonomous act of human faith must determine God's actions. That act of faith becomes the "foreseen" act that controls God's very decree of predestination, and, of course, that act of faith becomes the "trigger" that results in one being born again.

    Neither side in the debate will deny that God is the one who raises men to spiritual life. The question is: Does He do so because men fulfill certain conditions, or does He do so freely, at His own time, and in the lives of those He chooses to bring into relationship with Himself through Jesus Christ? This question is normally framed in the context of the relationship of faith and regeneration. Do we believe to become born again, or must we first be born again before we can exercise true, saving faith? Can the natural man do what is pleasing to God? Can the dead choose to allow themselves to be raised to life? This is the issue at hand." - Dr. James White, Debating Calvinism

    "Does the Bible Teach Prevenient Grace?

    As the name suggests, prevenient grace is grace that “comes before” something. It is normally defined as a work that God does for everybody. He gives all people enough grace to respond to Jesus. That is, it is enough grace to make it possible for people to choose Christ. Those who cooperate with and assent to this grace are “elect.” Those who refuse to cooperate with this grace are lost. The strength of this view is that it recognizes that fallen man’s spiritual condition is severe enough that it requires God’s grace to save him. The weakness of the position may be seen in two ways. If this prevenient grace is merely external to man, then it fails in the same manner that the medicine and the life preserver analogies fail. What good is prevenient grace if offered outwardly to spiritually dead creatures?

    On the other hand, if prevenient grace refers to something that God does within the heart of fallen man, then we must ask why it is not always effectual. Why is it that some fallen creatures choose to cooperate with prevenient grace and others choose not to? Doesn’t everyone get the same amount?

    Think of it this way, in personal terms. If you are a Christian you are surely aware of other people who are not Christians. Why is it that you have chosen Christ and they have not? Why did you say yes to prevenient grace while they said no? Was it because you were more righteous than they were? If so, then indeed you have something in which to boast. Was that greater righteousness something you achieved on your own or was it the gift of God? If it was something you achieved, then at the bottom line your salvation depends on your own righteousness. If the righteousness was a gift, then why didn’t God give the same gift to everybody?

    Perhaps it wasn’t because you were more righteous. Perhaps it was because you are more intelligent. Why are you more intelligent? Because you study more (which really means you are more righteous)? Or are you more intelligent because God gave you a gift of intelligence he withheld from others?

    To be sure, most Christians who hold to the prevenient grace view would shrink from such answers. They see the implied arrogance in them. Rather they are more likely to say, “No, I chose Christ because I recognized my desperate need for him.” That certainly sounds more humble. But I must press the question. Why did you recognize your desperate need for Christ while your neighbor didn’t? Was it because you were more righteous than your neighbor, or more intelligent?

    The question for advocates of prevenient grace is why some people cooperate with it and others don’t. How we answer that will reveal how gracious we believe our salvation really is. The $64,000 question is, “Does the Bible teach such a doctrine of prevenient grace? If so, where?”

    We conclude that our salvation is of the Lord. He is the One who regenerates us. Those whom he regenerates come to Christ. Without regeneration no one will ever come to Christ. With regeneration no one will ever reject him. God’s saving grace effects what he intends to effect by it." - R. C. Sproul, Chosen by God

    Posted by John Samson on April 17, 2012 07:08 AM

    Comments

    Why must the answer be, "either or." Why can't it be both?

    Surely, you will reject the fact by your dogma that I chose God. But, you will not reject the fact that God chooses. Tell me then, why can't it be both? WHY CAN'T IT BE BOTH?

    What if I choose God, and God accepts my request? Will He then say no? Will God deny my request? I think not.

    What if God chooses me and I say No? I am thinking of Mary now. She said yes! But, she could've said no. If not, then why did God even ask her in the first place? God doesn't go about doing such things.

    This monergism thing is a man-made creation that has no basis in Scripture of anything else.

    Of course, none of this is even possible in your theology. Only God Chooses. We can not do other than respond as robots. This is not freedom.

    So your whole question of if God gives 2 persons the same grace, why one responds and one does not, according to your own theology of "irresistible grace" is impossible. Don't you see that?

    But, if free will (yep, I said it) is not totally eradicated but, only damaged, then and only then, can man freely respond to God's grace.

    Now you are well on your way to becoming Catholic.

    Robert,

    You ask, "Why must the answer be, "either or." Why can't it be both?" Surely, you will reject the fact by your dogma that I chose God. But, you will not reject the fact that God chooses. Tell me then, why can't it be both? WHY CAN'T IT BE BOTH?"

    For the simple reason that unregenerate man has no desire to choose God. No one has the ability to come to Jesus unless God draws them and the one drawn is raised up to eternal life (John 6:44). Jesus made that clear.

    You ask, "What if I choose God, and God accepts my request? Will He then say no? Will God deny my request? I think not."

    You have not grasped Scripture's assessment of man's condition outside of regeneration. Man is dead spiritually, not merely unwell. He has no desire for God and will not seek Him (Romans 3:11).

    You ask, "What if God chooses me and I say No? I am thinking of Mary now. She said yes! But, she could've said no. If not, then why did God even ask her in the first place? God doesn't go about doing such things."

    You think God is somehow surprised when we say "yes." Surely not. See Acts 13:48.

    You say, "This monergism thing is a man-made creation that has no basis in Scripture of anything else."

    Because you fail to grasp Scripture's view of man, it is actually YOU who holds to man made ideas.

    "Unless a man is born again he CANNOT enter the kingdom of God" Jesus said.

    Robert

    The one glaring characteristic of your post where you ask "why can't it be both?" is that it has zero scripture to support it. Only unaided human philosophy.

    Jesus plainly teaches effectual grace when talking about how one comes to faith in John 6. John 6:65 "No one can come to me UNLESS God grants it." and verse 37 of the same chapter says "all that the Father gives to me WILL COME TO ME."

    These statements alone demonstrate that when God chooses to save a person. The MAIN REASON why it can't be both is that the Bible does not teach it. It teaches that no one can believe in Jesus unless God grants it. Regenerating grace precedes faith - all through the Bible.

    If only the Roman Catholic church would have listened to Augustine who understood that salvation is all of grace.

    Gentlemen:

    Thank you for responding. I find it very interesting that both of you rely on John 6 in your responses.

    From a purely human perspective there are two different operations here in John 6. One is this "drawing", ie. "No one comes to me less the Father draw him."

    The second aspect or operation is Jesus will then "raise him."

    Although, as a Catholic, I believe that both of these operations are one in God, they are obviously more than that in us.

    Theologically speaking, "drawing" is not the same as "mission." Do you have a theological answer to this?

    Furthermore, as it states in the Bible, specifically for example, Acts 10 (and I can list many more), the works, prayers and almsgiving of Cornelius rose to God before he received the Spirit. So, based on the Bible, John(s), I simply cannot accept your contention that "regenerating grace" must precede faith all through the Bible. Obviously it does not according to Scripture and, Scripture "cannot be set aside." Therefore, I cannot accept your assertion that human will was completely destroyed, as you say.

    Perhaps my problem with Protestant theology is despite its claim to being Bible-based, it is not, as shown above. Most Pastors, in my opinion, simply ignore passages that do not support their opinions. In other words, they just cherry-pick passages from Scripture instead of treating it as a whole.

    Thanks.

    Robert

    That's strange. Your criticism about Protestantism cherry picking verses is exactly what you have done in your interpretation above.

    John 6:44 must be read in context. John 6:37 shines a light upon it. Jesus declares that "ALL that the Father gives to me will come to me" This plainly means that all who the father give to the Son will believe. Not some, but ALL whom God draws to Christ will believe, according to John 6:37. The Father giving the person to Jesus precedes their faith. This demonstrates, beyond question, that it is YOU, not us, who are reading it in isolation and cherry picking the text. This isolated reading of your verse is the very definition of cherry picking. Question: How many of those who God gives to Jesus, come to him, according to John 6:37?

    Further, your example of Cornelius is utterly ridiculous. Cornelius was not someone who was praying to God and giving alms in a void. He was a Gentile convert to Judaism prior to coming to Christ so had ALREADY been regenerated. Of course God accepts his prayers. Now at this point in redemptive history God is further illuminating by grafting in Gentiles to Christ as well as Jews. His prayers were already made acceptable because God had already had grace upon him. Nothing could be more obvious. This was simply grace upon grace. Or are you saying that Cornelius had no previous knowledge of God and could attribute his repentance and faith to his own wisdom, humility, sound judgment and good sense and not to Christ alone? That seems to be what you are saying. Does the wisdom to believe arise from the flesh? How do you declare this in light of 1 Cor 2:14, that the natural man cannot understand spiritual truth..? Your self-flattery in the business of salvation is the most dangerous sin of all.

    Dear John H.:

    Thank you for your reply.

    Although, it is hard for me to agree with your assertion that I am also cherry-picking verses (especially since I did not do so but rather, cited an entire chapter), please allow me to elaborate.

    What I am trying to get at, is at what point is a soul regenerated (at least in your theology)? Is it when, for example, when one is drawn by the Father? Or perhaps when one is raised by the Son? At some other time?

    You see, in Acts 10, clearly, in verse 1, Cornelius is already "devout" and "god-fearing." Has he been regenerated according to your theology? If you follow Scripture, you must say "NO."

    Why? Because, Cornelius was not "regenerated", in my understanding of the Word, until verse 44-49! This can hardly be described as "ridiculous."

    Please back-off a bit on all your allegations of "self-flattery" etc. if you can't answer the question.

    "He was a Gentile convert to Judaism prior to coming to Christ so had ALREADY been regenerated."

    This I do not not understand. Because he was a convert to Judaism he was already "regenerated?"

    Surely, you did not mean to say this. Again, my point is when is one regenerated? When he becomes a Jew? Perhaps, I do not grasp or you have failed to recognize this point.

    I'll give you another example. Acts 14-17. How is it, according to your theology, that Samaria had accepted the word of God (they had only been Baptized in the name of Jesus) but, had not yet received the Holy Spirit? At least not until the Apostle's laid hands on them.

    In other words, how could they, according to your theology, have accepted the word of God, been Baptized in Jesus' name, and not yet have the "Spirit?" It is in the Bible. Fact. Ever thought about this?

    Finally,about your opinion on John. Of course Scripture (Jesus) says no one comes to Him unless the Father draws him. But, he also says, no on goes to the Father except through Him. I'm interested to hear your opinion on this. Which is it?

    Look, this is a serious discussion and can we just leave out all the personal attacks about all this "self-flattery" being the most dangerous sin of mine? 'Cause I just take that as your defense mechanism when you can't answer any of the very specific questions which I posed.

    Robert

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