Friday, March 1, 2013


Calvinists point out that the unsaved man is described by Paul as "dead in trespasses and sins" (Eph. 2:1), and that a dead man cannot respond to the Gospel.  However, I see a serious flaw in this teaching.  Calvinists have no problem with a man being convicted of sin before regeneration, in some cases conviction lasting for many days, months, even years, and yet how can a "dead" man (as they understand the term) anymore come under conviction, feel guilt, sense a drawing to Christ, than he can believe?  To be consistent, they would have to also teach regeneration comes before conviction, but then there would be no need for conviction!

I believe Paul uses a metaphor when he says that the sinner is "dead," meaning man is separated from God by his sin, guilt, etc., and is corrupted and tainted in all parts of his being.  A perfect example of this concept is found in the phrase "the second death" (Rev. 2:11; 20:6, 14; 21:8).  Scripture clearly teaches that those who are cast into the Lake of Fire will suffer for eternity (Mt. 24:46; Rev. 14:11; 20:10; etc.).  How can the "dead" suffer, or for that matter, experience shame (Dan. 12:2)?  Was not Adam spiritually dead, and yet, in that condition, he hid from God?   

Before regeneration, there must be the work of the Father drawing, the Son drawing, and the Spirit convicting (Jn. 14:4: 12:32; 16:7-14).  I agree with A.T. Robertson, and John Calvin on Ephesians 2:8, that it is salvation, not faith, which is described as "the gift of God" (see also Rom. 6:23).
The Holy Spirit directs a "preacher" to present the message of the Gospel (Rom. 10:13-17), which, when believed, results in salvation!  That saving faith necessarily precedes regeneration seems to me to be absolutely required by John 1:12 where faith clearly precedes regeneration.
Charles Spurgeon wrote in his sermon entitled The Warrant of Faith, "If I am to preach the faith in Christ to a man who is regenerated, then the man, being regenerated, is saved already, and it is an unnecessary and ridiculous thing for me to preach Christ to him, and bid him to believe in order to be saved when he is saved already, being regenerate.  Am I only to preach faith to those who have it?  Absurd, indeed!  Is not this waiting till the man is cured and then bringing him the medicine?  This is preaching Christ to the righteous and not to sinners."
If a man can reject the Gospel, that means he is also capable of accepting it. 

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