“Decisional Regeneration” a “Straw Man” Argument?

The following is a copy of an e-mail I sent to the editor over at expreacherman.com. Since they will not post or respond to anything I send to them, I decided to post it here in hopes that some of their readers will find it.

You wrote:

The false idea and straw-man of decisional regeneration is built upon the error perpetrated by many Baptists (and other) religionists who preach that one can be saved or regenerated by coming forward to the altar, saying a sinners prayer or praying a prayer of commitment. They then presume the person is saved and regenerated. It must be clearly understood that regeneration does not occur because of an altar call, the sinner s prayer or a ‘commitment’.

I know you don’t have the courage to respond to this, but you need to at least be confronted with it. From what I read in the letter to which you referred, the person who wrote it did not say you teach “decisional regeneration” but that you are from the generation that gave us the idea. I was brought up in the tradition he/she[?] is talking about. I practiced what he/she is describing. It is not a straw man argument. I don’t think anyone intended to say walking the aisle or praying a prayer would regenerate a person, but that is what they said. First, they taught that sinners are “born again through faith.” Faith was viewed as a public profession of faith. People were invited to come forward and “be saved.” People in churches could tell you they saw a person “get saved,” by which they meant they saw them go forward to make a public profession.

I was taught to use the “sinner’s prayer.” Once a person “prayed to receive Jesus,” I was taught to welcome them into the kingdom of God, and assure them they were now a child of God. Further, I was told to warn them that if they ever doubted they were truly a child of God, they were calling God a liar because he had promised that if they would call on his name, they would be saved. All of this was based on a decision they had made. We have at least two generations who, based on that language, believe they are Christians because of that teaching. I repeat, it may not have been the intention of these teachers to convey the idea that sinners are regenerated by a decision, but that is clearly what they taught. If a person is born again through faith, and faith is a decision, then why would they not believe in “decisional regeneration?”


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