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I believe that regeneration, or the new birth, precedes and is the cause/source of saving faith. In other words, we are born again in order that we may believe, not the other way around.
by Dr. Sam Storms Enjoying God Ministries (EGM) What's Your Theology? Dec 06, 2007
This seems to say that one can only beleve if one is regenerated (by God?)
Why then is not everyone regenerated?
At least to the extant that they may choose to believe or not?
How does one hold both to the idea that the christian god is all loving or perfectly loving and yet hold to the idea that the christian god chooses only to elect some?
Person A is a grievous sinner. God elects Person A.
Person A “believes” and is thus saved.
Person B is a grievous sinner. God does not elect Person B.
Person B never believes (and in fact cannot) and thus is condemned to hell.
Sinking ship analogy:
Two people are lost at sea and a rescue ship arrives.
Person A cannot swim but God reaches down grabs ahold of Person A and thus deliverance is at hand.
Person B cannot swim but God does not reach down to Person B and thus destruction is at hand.
Imagine if one could visit Person B in Hell.
(God allows a small time-out from the torment that Person B is experiencing)
Person B: I know that I’m a sinner and deserve this but all those people in heaven they are sinners as well. They deserve to be here too.
What did they do to be in heaven? Nothing. God just chose them.
So it didn’t really matter if I lived a life that was full of caring, love, sacrifice, humility, and etc. As much as I could in any case. None of that mattered. God did not chose me.
And those in heaven, some were just as bad of sinners as I was. Some were worse, some not so much. But none of that matters. God chose them.
How can Person B (or anyone) not look at this as anything but bad luck if ones eternal destination is simply a matter of choice. And that choice is out of his hands and in the hands of God?
"I believe that regeneration, or the new birth, precedes and is the cause/source of saving faith. In other words, we are born again in order that we may believe, not the other way around.
by Dr. Sam Storms Enjoying God Ministries (EGM) What's Your Theology? Dec 06, 2007"
Regeneration is the cause of faith = sufficient grace
One of the things that Dr. Storms does is to be very specific on the grace that he believes precedes salvation. He says it is regeneration. Most Christians (a few excepted) believe in original sin. Because we are all under the condemnation of original sin prevenient grace is needed to either enable man to believe (as in the necessity of Grace in Catholicism or Arminianism) or prevenient grace is sufficient to bring man to faith and salvation.
I think the word "regeneration" is key. I have never seen Non-Calvinists use the term regeneration to describe their view of prevenient grace. It would seem to be that one must take the view that prevenient grace is sufficient for faith and salvation if one places regeneration as the cause of faith.
One question I have, is what do non-Calvinists mean by the term "prevenient grace" if grace is insufficient to bring about faith and salvation? I would expect that it is just a generalized drawing were God draws all men equally, but this drawing is insufficient to bring one to faith and salvation. I would expect passages like John 12 to be common, and all men are drawn to the cross, but not all men get to the cross, or something like that. Then the ministry of the HS is not to change the nature of a person, but merely to woo, or attempt to persuade, and this wooing or persuasion is insufficient for faith and salvation. But does not this leave salvation to be some sort of human merit? Could not I pat myself on the back and boast that at least I cooperated with the wooing of the HS, and that rotten sinner next to me did not respond and deserves to go to hell. This of course is the interjection of free will into the equation. Is the teaching of free will really compatible with original sin? Does not this leave man as sovereign over at least the prevenient grace of God?
The bottom line however is not what I said above, but it is the scriptures. For me, 1John 5:1 is clear. Faith is caused by being born of God. Faith is a present tense participle, and "born of God" is a perfect tense verb in greek. There is a past action in the verb "born." The present tense participle tells us the result of the past action. My conclusion is that Dr. Storm is correct scripturally. I am aware that many of you will strongly disagree. But I often wonder how some of you, especially those closer to Calvinism, how you look at some of the theological problems created by looking at God's prevenient work of Grace as insufficient for faith and salvation. How do you look at original sin, etc?