Thursday, May 20, 2010

Predestination / Free Will (3b)

The issue between Calvinists and Arminians:

Monergism / Synergism regarding rebirth

• Does regeneration precede faith (Calvinist) or does faith precede regeneration (Arminian)?
• Is saving grace effective (Calvinist) or is it merely persuasive (Arminian)?

On Monergism, Sproul, in Essential Truths, pg 172, says: "Regeneration occurs by God’s divine initiative and is an act that is sovereign, immediate, and instantaneous. An awareness of our conversion may be gradual. Yet rebirth is instantaneous. Regeneration is not the fruit or the result of faith. Rather, regeneration precedes faith as the necessary condition for faith. We also do not in any way dispose ourselves toward regeneration or cooperate as coworkers with the Holy Spirit to bring it to pass. We do not decide or choose to be regenerated. God chooses to regenerate us before we will ever choose to embrace Him. To be sure, after we have been regenerated by the sovereign grace of God, we do choose, act, cooperate, and believe in Christ. God does not have faith for us. It is our own faith by which we are justified. What God does is quicken us to spiritual life, rescuing us from darkness, bondage, and spiritual death. God makes faith possible and actual for us. He quickens faith within us." Synergism says man must first have faith, cooperating with the grace of God in obtaining re-birth.

Both sides agree: You must be born again. There is no such person as a non-born again Christian. Consider the chart found here. Each system is coherent! It is inconsistent to hold only some of each side’s views. Though there are some Arminians who believe in “eternal security” and some Calvinists who believe in “unlimited atonement” (Amyraldianism).

This debate has to do with the ORDO SALUTIS (Order of Salvation)

Calvinism: Election, Predestination, Calling (inward/outward), Regeneration, Conversion (faith/repentance), Justification, Adoption, Sanctification, Glorification

Arminianism: Calling (outward), Conversion (faith/repentance), Regeneration, Election, Justification, Perseverance, Sanctification, More Perseverance, Glorification.

Spurgeon said: “All of us are by nature born as Arminians.”

Sproul, in Grace Unknown, pg 180, quoted Roger Nicole as saying, “We are all born Pelagians [and reborn Arminians].”

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