28
Feb
13

Do we need regeneration after all?

Perhaps a ¨non-Calvinist¨ who is passing through could give me an answer to a question I have been pondering. Several times I have seen those who oppose the idea of predestination state that sinners have ¨free will.¨ According to their own statements, they mean by this that sinners possess equal ability to choose either good or evil. I assume by this they mean sinners not only have the ability to choose good but also to do good.

My question is this–If sinners are able to choose to trust Christ apart from the Spirit´s work of regeneration and are able to choose and practice good by virtue of their ¨free will,¨ why do we need to be regenerated? If by nature we are able to believe the gospel and obey the commands of God, why do we need the Holy Spirit?

Please read the rules for commenting before weighing in on this issue.

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2 Responses to “Do we need regeneration after all?”


  1. 1 seventh son
    February 28, 2013 at 7:18 pm

    I’m not a non-Calvinist, but I wanted to share my observation from experience that the man-centered gospel of decisional regeneration must and in practice does diminish the doctrine of regeneration. I have been listening to a southern baptist preacher for a few months now and though there is an “invitation” given just about every week, the new birth is never mentioned. Salvation is described as “a personal relationship with Jesus Christ,” “giving yourself to Christ,” “asking Christ into your heart,” “making a commitment,” “rededicating your life to Christ,” and my personal favorite, “simply saying ‘uh-huh’ to God.” There have been plenty of sermons on moral living, and even an occasional mention of God’s judgement and the need for repentance. But never a mention of the need for the new birth, or even what the new birth is. Ironic, isn’t it? Something that the Lord said was necessary in order to even see the kingdom of God, let alone to enter it. But in six months, not one mention of it…Lots of exhortations to tithing, but not one reference to regeneration by the Spirit of God.

    I say this all to show why I think you have really hit on something here. Any type of decisional evangelism necessarily diminishes or even abolishes the importance of the new birth. It would create a contradiction for these preachers to preach on regeneration, whether or not they consciously realize it. A new spiritual birth is something you can’t control and really doesn’t “fit” into their plan of salvation. So they just don’t teach on it.

    I have noticed the deficiency for a while now, but this helps me see the connection. If man has the ability to choose good (and thereby to do good) then there is no urgency or even necessity to preach the new birth. Thanks.

  2. February 28, 2013 at 7:56 pm

    I just had lunch with an old friend from the church I fled. He touts free will and holds to Wesleyan theology as a Baptist – which is far too common. No knowledge of the Truth of John 3:16, which is what he trotted out to prove that anyone could decide to believe. He also believes in evolution as the cause of life. I tried to enjoy my enchilada, knowing he would soon change the subject. I’ve ‘splained John 3:16 to him a few times before. sigh


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