23 April 2010


by Phil Johnson

Since we have featured two posts about Calvinism already this week, why not a third? I've always liked the symmetrics of three-point sermons anyway.

What follows is an excerpt from one of my Shepherds' Conference seminars in 2007. You can download the entire message for free HERE. In that seminar I argued that everyone who truly believes the gospel has already embraced the core principles of Calvinist truth. Even the most ardent Arminian, if he is truly evangelical, is a Calvinist when it really counts. Here's an excerpt:

y trek from Arminianism to Calvinism took more than ten years. Every time one of my arguments against Calvinist doctrines would fall, I would be forced to embrace some doctrine that I had heretofore been desperately trying to argue against.

But I never had any sense of defeat. It was more like I was resolving nagging conflicts in my own mind. Because I kept discovering that the truths at the heart of Calvinism truly are the doctrines of grace—principles that I had always affirmed: God is sovereign, Christ died for me, God loved me before I loved Him, He sought me and drew me and initiated my reconciliation while I was still His enemy. Those are all biblical truths, and I believed them even when I was a gung-ho Arminian.

So embracing Calvinism was natural—and inevitable—because all I was doing was ridding my mind of wrong ideas and faulty assumptions about human free will and other notions like that, which are not even taught in the Bible—so that I could wholeheartedly affirm what I really believed anyway: That God is God, and He does all His good pleasure, and no one can make Him do otherwise, and He is in control and in charge no matter how much noise evildoers try to make.

And not only is He in charge, He is working all things out for my good and His glory.

That's Calvinism. And if you believe those things, you have affirmed the heart of Calvinist doctrine, even if you call yourself an Arminian. Those are the basic truths of Calvinism, and if you already believe those things, you are functioning with Calvinist presuppositions.

There's more. If you are an authentic Christian, you know in your heart of hearts that you weren't born again because you were morally superior to your unbelieving neighbors. You were worthy of God's wrath just like them (Ephesians 2:1-3). According to Ephesians 2:4-6, it was God who quickened you and showed you a special mercy—and that is why you are a believer. You already know that in your heart. You don't really believe you summoned faith and came to Christ in your own power and by your own unaided free will. You don't actually believe you are morally superior to unbelievers. You therefore must see, somewhere in your soul, that God has given you special grace that He has not shown everyone.

You also believe God is absolutely sovereign over all things. I know you do, because you lean on the promise of Romans 8:28. And that promise would mean nothing if God were not in control of every detail of everything that happens. If He is not in control of all things, how could He work all things together for good?

Furthermore, you pray for the lost, which means in your heart, you believe God is sovereign over their salvation. If you didn't really believe He was sovereign in saving sinners, you'd quit praying for the lost and start doing everything you could to buttonhole people into the kingdom by hook or by crook, instead. But you know that would be folly.

And you pray about other things, too, don't you? You pray that God will change this person's heart, or alter the circumstances of that problem. That's pure Calvinism. When we go to God in prayer, we're expressing faith in His sovereignty over the circumstances of our lives.

You believe God operates sovereignly in the administration of all His providence. You say things like, "If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that" (James 4:15)—because you believe that God works all things after the counsel of His own will (Eph. 1:11), and nothing happens apart from his will.

Nothing is more biblical than these doctrines that are commonly labeled Calvinism. In a way, it is a shame they have been given an extrabiblical name. Because these truths are the very essence of what Scripture teaches.

Phil's signature


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olan strickland said...

If you didn't really believe He was sovereign in saving sinners, you'd quit praying for the lost and start doing everything you could to buttonhole people into the kingdom by hook or by crook, instead.

That sounds like much of today's evangelism.

The frog relaxing on the lily pad - LOL!

philness said...

Besides, we just don't see calvinists turning to the armininian position. Its usely the other way around.

philness said...

That frog is definitely out of the will of God.

love God... said...

Amen! Phil,

It seems strange to me that people recoil at the fact that God is in complete control. Someone who does not believe that God quickened my heart would have to explain to me how it happened then because I was not seeking after God through Christ. I believed in a god but it was not the God of the Bible. How was it then that one minute I didn't beleive the Bible was true and I didn't "get" all the fuss over Christ and the next minute God drew me to pick up His word and read it and it became clear and now I have devoted my life to Him? The sovereignty of God in my salvation is such a comfort to me.

I want to comment on those who say believing in the absolute sovereignty of God in ALL things puts a damper on our evangelism or that we evangelise because we are commanded to. Well that is not the reason I evangelise. I do it because I love God.

I don't love Him because I chose Him, I love Him because He first loved me and brought me from death to life.

That is why I love Him and want to go tell others about Him. He's fabulous. Who doesn't want the privilege of telling others of our wonderful God and Savior. For me it's not about the individual...it's about my Lord...that He be glorified...and He is glorified when lost sinners repent and beleive. It's a win/win. We get to extol the virtues of our God and we get to see Him open blind eyes and stony hearts!

lawrence said...


Stefan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
mike said...

I was just rewriting Olan's post when i read it, so

we will be so much stronger if we begin to believe what we think we know.

we believe in God, but much of the time we do not really believe Him, or His word.

Stefan said...

A. Love the frog.

B. Love it when a pastor speaks pastorally on the doctrines of grace not in abstract theological terms but in lay terms, and gets into the heart of how this stuff stuff matters and plays out in our lives.

Frank Turk said...

It's funny -- I've been saying this in a different way at Evangel, and it may be the most offensive thing that has been said there yet, judging by the responses. Some are even claiming to "hate God" if Calvinism is true.

philness said...


The medium is the message you know.

Mary Elizabeth Tyler said...

I think, Phil, your article is being upstaged by this frog.

He seems to be saying, while basking in the sun, "God, please make me green all over."

I have most of your sermons downloaded from Bible Bulletin Board, and this will be a wonderful addition. I listen to so many of them over and over again.

stratagem said...

So do I. I very much appreciated the History of Calvinism teaching... exceptionally interesting. I also appreciated how you allowed that Arminians or even semi-Pelagians can be saved despite their errors, proving that you understand that there is a difference between the doctrines of grace and being a partaker of grace.

Brian said...

from ten years as a young armininian to a thoughtful and surrendered calvinist who eventually begins to read broadly and moves towards a Barthian understanding of election. I've seen this progression among academic friends a dozen or so times.

Johnny Dialectic said...

You'll be a splendid Arminian when you come out of Calvinism. I think that day may yet appear. Your goatee will probably be gray, but Pr. 16:31 after all. I think you'll find that thinking past the problems of Calvinism will lead you back to the "other side," only this time it will be a clean landscape where the Bible takes care of the theology directly. Calvinism will seem like a tunnel you had to go through, with the light at the other end.

mike said...

just look at the frog dude.
it seems that the words are not for you right now.

olan strickland said...

Johnny: You'll be a splendid Arminian when you come out of Calvinism.

Romans 8:28-30 will never allow for that.

Jonathan Moorhead said...

Only speaking of my personal experience as a recovering Arminian, I simply had not thought through the implications of my position. It was simply the language that had been programmed into me. "My God is not like that," I thought.

When faced with challenging texts, however, cognitive dissonance can only be borne too long before the strain is too much to bear. As James White points out in his "debate" with Dave Hunt, there comes a time when tradition obviously trumps the text of Scripture.

Fwiw, I think the sign is much more snazzy than the frog.

RealityCheck said...

William Lane Craig has a Q&A section at his site.


Today I noticed the question for April 19, 2010 entitled:

"Troubled by Calvinists". (The top question on the list as I write this).

I would love to know what your (and others) response is. Thanks

Phil Johnson said...


Somewhere in that recorded sermon you'll hear me say that since it took me so long to come to grips with the doctrines of grace, I am sympathetic with my brethren who are still Arminians. I'm Calvinistic enough to believe that God has ordained (at least for the time being) that they should hold these errant opinions. :-)

You, on the other hand, must think I believe what I do by my own free will.

That's the difficulty for Arminians: no one determined to follow his or her own free will would ever embrace Calvinistic doctrine, because the doctrine destroys precisely that sort of free-will pertinacity. You either have to conclude that all Calvinists are insane (or evil)--or else acknowledge something other than blind willfulness has determined that they should believe these doctrines.

mike said...

RE: I would love to know what your (and others) response is.

for starters, the question and answer at first cursory inspection have an inordinant number of undeterminant "theys". who exactly are we confronting, defending, conversing with, and or about.

because i know of some guys who spend a lot of time talking about UFOs, but i don't really see that as a problem for the doctrine of grace.

JG said...

Most people I know who battle so hard against becoming "Calvinists" (because, like you point out, it's the term people won't embrace, not the theology) actually go so far as to say, "Yes, God controls everything - except salvation." Floors me every time, but that's the reasoning I always hear, and no amount of debate will change their minds. It's up to the Word to change their hearts.

misty said...

Phil, this article was so enjoyable to read! Thank you! It so describes my conversion!

What's even more wonderful is that because I know God gave me grace that He has not shown to others I am so utterly grateful to Him that I just want to please Him, tell others about Him, glorify Him in every way I can. And the Holy Spirit gives me the grace to do that as well! It's me doing it, but it all starts with God! He is so amazing!

Sven Pook said...

Wow, Phil, 10 years? Really? Makes me feel better about the 5 it took me ;-) I heard a tape of you interviewing John McArthur on the the perils of following faith healers (Pilgrim Radio). I want you to know that, at least once, in the few times I was allowed to take the pulpit, I spoke against that whole industry of Benny Hinn et al. The Senior Pastor agreed, but he says they fielded a few complaints, perhaps that explains why I was allowed to take the pulpit so rarely :-)

John said...

Describes much my own experience, only I came out of Finney-esque Pelagianism. A pastor I sat under went so far as to say "Total Depravity doesn't mean that no one can do anything good, ev en a little baby can do good!" This got me thinking about what Total Depravity was, and where it was in the Bible. I am now Biblical (Calvinist). God really does have a sense of humor. By the way, it was a pleasure meeting you at T4G, thank you for being gracious.

Johnny Dialectic said...

I actually think what happens, Phil, is that you resist of your own free will. I think you feel a nudge away from the big C (to which I would give full credit to the Holy Spirit) but put on the mental brakes for other reasons.

That's the difficulty for Arminians: no one determined to follow his or her own free will would ever embrace Calvinistic doctrine, because the doctrine destroys precisely that sort of free-will pertinacity.

This sounds suspiciously like post hoc, ergo propter hoc and circular reasoning.

You either have to conclude that all Calvinists are insane (or evil)--or else acknowledge something other than blind willfulness has determined that they should believe these doctrines.

Are those my only options? Because 2 out of 3 Pyros don't fit that description.

Kidding. Seriously, I obviously don't think the former of any of you. I do think that there are often reasons people are drawn to Calvinism (especially smart people) that are external to the merits (or lack of same) of the system itself. But past that I dare not speculate.

Thanks for tolerating me around here.

Sven Pook said...

love God:
That is exactly how it happened with me. I was repulsed by Christ and the church one day, the next I saw Christ is inherently beautiful.

Amen Brother (or sister)

olan strickland said...

I actually think what happens, Phil, is that you resist of your own free will.

Johnny, thanks for the laugh.

Phil, you must be schizophrenic!

love God... said...

So Johnny D....not to pick on you...but what would you say happened to Sven and I? How was it that we came to faith seemingly the same way?

He says the same thing that happened to me happended to him. What would you call that?

misty said...

Olan, Phil, or whoever wants to answer…

Does the Word teach that we have free will? I’ve read through the entire Bible once and I didn’t see anything regarding man’s free will. Doesn’t it teach that we are either dead in our trespasses and sins (“slaves to sin”, as Paul said) until we are made alive in Christ (and become slaves of righteousness)? I don’t feel like a Christian robot, but I know God has remade me. I’m thinking and doing things that the old Misty never did or thought of.

Isn’t God the only one who has free will? In other words, a will totally free from influence?

stratagem said...

Well, it seems like we can freely choose to do good or bad things. However, the doctrine of total depravity (which term is not in the Bible) would suggest that even when I choose to do things that seem good, I am doing them for wrong reasons and therefore they are really bad.

That's a hard thing to accept at first, mostly because bad is the only thing we have ever known, so our reference point is way way "off." However as I have aged, I realize more and more that my motives are always "self," to some degree.

The Arminian has to explain the following: "How does the doctrine I'm believing preclude the even the possibility of my boasting about being a Christian?" Otherwise it is a direct contradiction of Eph. 2:8-9. That settles it, as far as I'm concerned.

Mike Riccardi said...

Olan, Phil, or whoever wants to answer… Does the Word teach that we have free will?

Nope, not since the Garden.

The problem when you say this is that people respond that we're robots. First, you'll notice that's not a biblical argument. But secondly, it's not true. It seems they have no category for an enslaved will. It's either free will, or no will.

But the very fact that the term "will" is modified by the adjective "free" ought to communicate to our English-speaking minds that our wills can be free and our wills can be enslaved.

The opposite of "free will" is not "no will," it's an "enslaved will".

That's what we've got since Genesis 3 until God regenerates us.

misty said...

Whoa! You guys are deep!

Thanks! Explains a lot.

Don Johnson said...

love God and Sven,

It sounds as if you're trying to say you were regenerated before you believed. Since that is a Biblical impossibility, would you clarify your salvation experience?


Mike Riccardi said...

Don Johnson,

I won't speak for love God and Sven, but that regeneration logically precedes an exercise of our faith is not a "Biblical impossibility." In fact, it's precisely what the Bible teaches.

I've made the case for it in this post, but the short of it is found in 1 John 5:1. Unfortunately, the NASB doesn't accurately represent the Greek tenses, but the ESV does:

"Everyone who believes [present active] that Jesus is the Christ has been [passive perfect] born of God."

Those who now believe give evidence that they were, in the past, born again, or regenerated. Faith is dependent on our regeneration.

Don Johnson said...


Sorry, but you're wrong. Faith always precedes regeneration 100% of the time. There are no exceptions to the rule.

As far as 1 John 5:1 goes I wonder why every Calvinist who uses this verse, including James White, only
quotes part of the verse and never
exegetes the phrase in its context.

The context goes back to at least 1 John 4:20 and through 1 John 5:2.

The short explanation of the verse is we are to love anyone who has been born of God because they are our brother.

The verse has nothing to do with which came first faith or the new birth.

If I'm wrong, please exegete the phrase in its context, not simply by itself.

bossmanham said...

That's the difficulty for Arminians: no one determined to follow his or her own free will would ever embrace Calvinistic doctrine, because the doctrine destroys precisely that sort of free-will pertinacity

As J D pointed out, this is begging the question, but even moreso if it were true, the reason we Arminians do this is because God decreed that it would be so. We can't do otherwise, as the determinist so often wants to assert, so we can't not falsely believe that we have free will because we have been determined to do so.

Mary Elizabeth Tyler said...

Don Johnson:

Here is a good article by R.C. Sproul that helps explain how regeneration precedes faith.


I am not sure this is the full article, though. I printed one off a few years ago and it appeared to be much longer than this one. I'm thinking there may be two articles???

No one seeks after God. "The wicked, through the pride of his countenance, will not seek after God: God is not in all his thoughts (Psa 10:4)."

"There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God (Romans 3:11)."

"And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and [that] every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually Gen 6:5"

If it is true what God says, and it is, that no one seeks after God and that the imaginations of man's heart is only EVIL CONTINUALLY, then a real miracle has to take place for anyone to come savingly to Christ. That miracle is the new birth, which God alone will author and finish.

To be dead spiritually, means we have no natural desire to love, obey or even see or understand God’s holiness and goodness. We want no part of Him in that spiritually lifeless condition of existence. It is only when God quickens us to have a NEW HEART, takes away our heart of stone and brings us from death to life that we can worship and adore Him.

Mary Elizabeth Tyler said...

Sorry, the link to Sproul's article did not come through very good.

Here it is: www.monergism.com/thethreshold/articles/onsite/sproul01.html

Andrew said...

There's a lovely balance in these articles, Phil, and a pastoral approach to Arminianism which avoids some of the shrill rhetoric which we can sometimes resort to as Calvinists.

Yesterday I read a quote from Spurgeon in Iain H. Murray's Spurgeon vs Hyper-Calvinism where the great preacher outlines the balance his reading of Scripture demands between Divine Sovereignty and human responsibility:

I believe in predestination, yea, in its very jots and tittles. I believe that the path of a single grain of dust in the March wind is ordained and settled by a decree which cannot be violated; that every word and thought of man, every fluttering of a sparrow's wing, every flight of a fly...that everything, in fact is foreknown and foreordained. But I do equally believe in the free agency of man, that man acts as he wills, especially in moral operations - choosing the evil with a will that is unbiased by anything that comes from God, biased only by his own depravity of heart and the perverseness of his habits; choosing the right, too, with perfect freedom, though sacredly guided and led by the Holy Spirit...I believe that man is as accountable as if there were no destiny whatever'

What a blessing to believe what the Bible teaches and to rejoice in a God who is big enough to hold all things in His hands!

Mike Riccardi said...

So your "argument," Don, (that is, besides, "I know you are but what am I?") is that since John isn't discussing the new birth explicitly, anything he does mention about it can't be taken seriously?


It doesn't matter if John is not trying to teach on the ordo salutis in the flow of his letter. That's why we believe in the plenary, verbal inspiration of Scripture, and that it is infallible and inerrant in the whole and in all the parts. Even if he wasn't intending to communicate that truth, but did because he assumed it to be so, doesn't mean it's not true. Quite the opposite. That he can take it to be true without even thinking he needs to explain it only further testifies to its truth.

Oh, and wild guess here: you didn't read the post I linked to where I actually made the argument, you just read the two-sentence summary. Right?

Mary Elizabeth Tyler said...

For some reason it did it again.

The ending to the site is:


Sven Pook said...

Don Johnson:
Mike Riccardi cited the Scripture I was going to use. I would add 1 Pet 4 which begins, "by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature," The impossibility of our depraved nature loving God on our own means that regeneration must preceed belief.

love God... said...

Don Johnson,

Thanks for the question. I suppose we need to clarify what each other means when we are talking about “regeneration”. Here is a definition of regeneration that I stand by….

REGENERATION — the spiritual change brought about in a person’s life by an act of God. In regeneration a person’s sinful nature is changed, and that person is enabled to respond to God in faith. (Nelson’s New Illustrated Bible Dictionary)

So yes Don I am saying that I was regenerated before I believed. The article below by RC Sproul explains what happened to me. Only I didn’t learn the doctrine in a classroom Don, I experienced it.

I have included a few excerpts…

From RC Sproul “One of the most dramatic moments in my life for the shaping of my theology took place in a seminary classroom. One of my professors went to the blackboard and wrote these words in bold letters: "Regeneration Precedes Faith." These words were a shock to my system. I had entered seminary believing that the key work of man to effect rebirth was faith. I thought that we first had to believe in Christ in order to be born again. I use the words in order here for a reason. I was thinking in terms of steps that must be taken in a certain sequence. I had put faith at the beginning. The order looked something like this:

"Faith - rebirth -justification."

I hadn’t thought that matter through very carefully. Nor had I listened carefully to Jesus’ words to Nicodemus. I assumed that even though I was a sinner, a person born of the flesh and living in the flesh, I still had a little island of righteousness, a tiny deposit of spiritual power left within my soul to enable me to respond to the Gospel on my own…After a person is regenerated, that person cooperates by exercising faith and trust. But the first step is the work of God and of God alone.”

If there is anything else you would like me to clarify Don I will do my best…but remember I am not a scholar so be patient 

love God... said...

Mary Elizabeth,

Ha..great minds think alike! I didn't see your post until I posted mine.

Don Johnson said...


You're correct, I did not read your post. I did however go back and look at it.

I notice you did quoted the whole verse, but once again never used it in its context.

I understand why you and other Calvinists never use the phrase in its context. But if this is supposed to be your one proof text,
then please exegete it in its context so us unlearned can understand.


Stefan said...

All I know is that for myself, given my own rebellious, wandering, doubting, disobedient heart, I would never dare claim that my salvation hinged upon my own exercise of faith.

The idea that God would consider me fit for salvation based upon any merit in me (even the mere voluntary exercise of faith) would be a slander on God's holiness and justice.

Sure, at the time that I gave my life to Christ, it seemed like a conscious decision on my part—and so it does for everyone who repents and believes, which is why we share the Gospel in the hopes that many will hear and believe.

But it was also an inevitable and inexorable decision, in that every event in my life had been orchestrated in such a way as to lead me to that point, and the Holy Spirit had given me ears to hear the Gospel anew, as if for the first time.

Mary Elizabeth Tyler said...

I believe the full article, by Sproul, I was talking about earlier can be found here:


Don Johnson said...

love God, Sven, Mary and Mike,

I need to take about an hour break. I'll be back to answer your arguments.

Please don't go away.


Stephen Garrett said...

Coming to Christ in faith precedes the reception of "life" (John 5: 40 and 20: 31). I John 5: 1 does not teach that one is born again before believing. It does teach that the life of faith, continuous believing, follows a new birth. Will we take the implied opposite? Whoever is not continuously believing has not been born of God?

Does one come to Christ for life or because he already has it?

We are born again by the gospel and thus by faith.

To put the new birth before faith but justification after faith leads one to Catholic doctrine, the idea that sanctification precedes justification.



Mike Riccardi said...

I did however go back and look at [your post]. ... But if this is supposed to be your one proof text...

I have a hard time believing that you read my post all that carefully if you (1) think that's the only text I cited, and (2) think I'm merely prooftexting instead of providing an argument.

The deck seems to be stacked in your mind, Don, and quite frankly it's making me question the profitableness of interacting further with you.

But let's take one more shot at it.

please exegete [1 John 5:1] in its context so us unlearned can understand.

Ok. Ready?

In the context of teaching that Christians should love their brother, the Apostle John defines what it means to be a brother of a Christian, or a child of God. In his definition, he sheds light about the nature of being "born of God," or of being regenerated. John -- without adding a supporting argument and thus assuming that what he was about to say was commonly-believed among Christians -- defines regeneration as the basis of faith in Christ. Or, stated conversely, he presents that faith in Christ is logically dependent upon being born again, not vice versa.

Mike Riccardi said...

Does one come to Christ for life or because he already has it?

That's just laughable. One cannot "come to Christ for life." Just listen to that phrase for a second. You can't "come to" anyone or anything to receive life. You're dead!

Temporally simultaneous, logically distinct, Stephen -- as it has been presented to you many times before (one, two, three).

love God... said...

Don when you return could you tell me what the following verses mean?

John 1:12-13..” who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.”

Acts 16:14…The Lord opened her heart to heed the things spoken by Paul.


Stephen Garrett said...

Dear Mike:

I can also list "here" and "here" and "here" for responses to your ordo salutis.

How is it laughable when "life" is in the two passages I referred to? "You will not come to me that you might have life." Coming to Christ is clearly "for life."

"These things are written...that believing you might have life..."

The dead can "come" when the power and voice of Christ calls them forth! To Lazarus he said - "COME forth." In the story of Ezekiel and the dry bones, they "came" together (moved, action) BEFORE they came alive.



mike said...

I John 5: 1 does not teach that one is born again before believing. It does teach that the life of faith, continuous believing, follows a new birth. Will we take the implied opposite? Whoever is not continuously believing has not been born of God?
Not necessarily, but possibly.

Does one come to Christ for life or because he already has it?
Rephrased; does the dead man come to Christ for life, or is he given life then comes.
What exactly can a dead man do?

We are born again by the gospel and thus by faith.

To put the new birth before faith but justification after faith leads one to Catholic doctrine, the idea that sanctification precedes justification.
Ok, wow. We had an apple and an orange, now we have a whole fruit salad.
We were talking about regeneration, and faith, and here we have jumped to justification and sanctification, and all Calvinists are closet Catholics. That would have disappointed Mr. Calvin his-own-self.

When Christ said “Lazarus, come forth”. Did the dead man hear before he was alive? Did he become alive because he chose to obey the command? How big was his role?

Complicated and wondrous things, these. We should be filled with awe at the God who saves sinners more than anything else in the whole discussion.

And speaking of 1 John 5:1, we might not forget to love the brethren, even those who aren’t as theologically gifted as we must be.

Mike Riccardi said...

I can also list "here" and "here" and "here" for responses to your ordo salutis.

The difference is, you've ignored everything everyone's ever said to you on the topic, and on multiple occasions return saying the same things. I suppose I'm just warning others about wasting their time.

The dead can "come" when the power and voice of Christ calls them forth! To Lazarus he said - "COME forth."

So, Lazarus had a choice to stay dead? Better yet, Lazarus wasn't alive until he obeyed and came out? Yes, as I said, laughable.

In the story of Ezekiel and the dry bones, they "came" together (moved, action) BEFORE they came alive.

So the bones obeyed? Gimme a break.

What you don't seem to understand is that Christ's command to Lazarus or Ezekiel's command to the bones (really, God's command to the bones) themselves created life that evidenced a response. When Jesus said, "Lazarus, come forth," at that moment, by His Word, Jesus had resurrected Lazarus; Lazarus didn't weigh the options and decide to become resurrected.

On that note: four.

Sven Pook said...

Don Johnson:
I am trying to understand how something that is dead can do anything without the regeneration of God. This conversation is similar to the sermon I once heard from an Arminian on John 11. After quoting Jesus as saying, "Lazarus, come forth," the preacher added, "Now, Lazarus had a choice to make."

What choice could I make without God first endowing me with the faith and the regenerate spirit to make that choice?

As a friend asked me before I became a Calvinist, "What part of dead don't you get?"

Sven Pook said...

Mike Riccardi:
Didn't see your post before I posted.

Daryl said...

This is really good Phil. Your brief "what happened to me on the way to Calvinism" echoes my own precisely.

What amazed me was the number of unanswered questions that I'd had since I was a kid, that were so simply answered all of a sudden.

And for all those that go on about the intellectual approach and various other reasons the people accept the doctrines of grace, well, not me.

While I admit that Calvinism certainly encourages my intellectual side, I believe that to be a natural result of their biblical and internal consistency.
They are studiable because they make so much sense.

I'd listened (mostly angrily) to various Calvinistic speakers for some time, when one of them simply said "Read Romans 9 (and others) and believe it, and see what happens."
It took about 45 minutes to go from long time skeptic (regarding Calvinism) to being finally convinced that there was no other option.

Nearly drove my wife crazy for the next couple weeks as I rattled off issue after biblical issue that finally had a real answer.

Having said all that... I gotta say how much I appreciate Johnny D.'s input around here. He, at least, has more to say and offer in the way of arguement than the "Then God is a monster" or "If that's God, then I hate him" that so many other non-Calvinists offer.

Daryl said...

One last bit...

It always struck me as interesting, the different analogies Scripture uses for salvation.

Adoption, redemption, new birth, made alive...none of which allow for any participation on the one being saved.

Add to those that Paul speaks of both repentance and faith as gifts...and even what we do, is simply giving back what we've been given to give, if that makes any sense.

Just a thought.

Sven Pook said...

Another thought:
I have a Pastor friendwho, basically, grew up within the Assemblies of God. Besides being pentacostal, the AoG is very Arminian, though he still pastors at an Aog church, he has become a Calvinist. He once told me that he had planned to teach through the book of Romans, but got part way through and put it aside saying, "I can't teach that , it doesn't match AoG doctrine."

You cannot rectify Romans as an Arminiast.

Mike Riccardi said...

...and even what we do, is simply giving back what we've been given to give, if that makes any sense.

Made sense to David, Daryl.

“Blessed are You, O Lord God of Israel our father, forever and ever. Yours, O Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, indeed everything that is in the heavens and the earth; Yours is the dominion, O Lord, and You exalt Yourself as head over all. Both riches and honor come from You, and You rule over all, and bin Your hand is power and might; and it lies in Your hand to make great and to strengthen everyone. Now therefore, our God, we thank You, and praise Your glorious name. But who am I and who are my people that we should 1be able to offer as generously as this? For all things come from You, and from Your hand we have given You. For awe are sojourners before You, and tenants, as all our fathers were; our days on the earth are like a shadow, and there is no hope. O Lord our God, all this abundance that we have provided to build You a house for Your holy name, it is from Your hand, and all is Yours."

God always grants what He requires.

Thanks for your comments. I enjoyed them.

Mary Elizabeth Tyler said...

I will be back in a few, also.

It is pretty simple, though.

"And when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad, and glorified the word of the Lord: and as many as were ordained to eternal life believed (Acts 13:48)."

To ordain means to deree, predestine, destine.

So we look to first causes, which came first, man's belief or God's ordaining that man believe? Acts 13:48 is pretty clear.

I am not a teacher of men, LET ME MAKE THAT PERFECTLY CLEAR, just sharing what I have learned and love about the Lord. The gospel of Jesus Christ is to be shared.

RealityCheck said...

So Mike,

You're comparing Craig's comments on Calvinism to someone who believes in UFO's???

I may not agree with everything he says but I think he should be taken more serious than that.

Don Johnson said...

love God, Swen, Mary and Mike,

I'm back

I see there are a few more posts which I need to answer.

I will try to answer one
person at a time and one point at a time.

In the event the pyros shut down this thread before we get through this discussion, I want you to know where I'm coming from.

1. There is no such thing as Total Inability.

2. There is no such thing as Unconditional Election.

3. There is no such thing as Limited Atonement.

4. There is no such thing as Irresistible Grace.

I don't believe in the perseverance of the saints but I do believe in the preservation of the saints.

If you stay with me I believe I can prove all of these from scripture.

Now that you think I'm completely wacko we can begin.

Mike you will be first.


Don Johnson said...


No. Once again you did not exegete 1 John 5:1. You once again gave your opinion of the first part but mysteriously forgot the second part of the verse. The two phrases are meant to go together along with the preceding verses.


mike said...

i wasn't comparing anyone to anything. i was pointing out an equally unrelated subject.

i do not mean to dismiss anyone either. but when the original platform of a discussion is "many X types have a commonality in the area of Y, and that points to the error in their beliefs", i must ask who are X, and when did the exhibit Y?
otherwise we are debating hypothetics.
this subject as well as all thing regarding God are important enough to all who seriously seek His truth, that we should not hide behind straw men or vague arguments. If we are wrong, we should want to stand corrected. If “being right” is more important than knowing the truth of God, then we have bigger issues than C vs. A.

Mike Riccardi said...


Just admit you've got a whole lot of nothing to say.

The text says what it says. No amount of complaining that John wasn't talking about the ordo salutis will change the fact that he did talk about the ordo salutis while talking about something else. And when he did, he used a present active for "believes" and a passive perfect for "has been born of God." No matter what else, he's said that, and you can't escape it. No amount of, "But the text isn't about that," will change the fact that he said that.

And so much for "one point at a time." I haven't seen one quotation of what I said, never mind all of what I said. If you want to market your semi-pelagianism, I can't stop you. It's not my blog. But don't pretend that you're interacting meaningfully if you're not actually going to deal with what people are saying.

Don Johnson said...


OK you got me. I'll cut the second phrase out of 1 John 5:1 and pretend it doesn't belong.

donsands said...

"1. There is no such thing as Total Inability.

2. There is no such thing as Unconditional Election.

3. There is no such thing as Limited Atonement.

4. There is no such thing as Irresistible Grace." -Don Johnson

Yes there is Don Johnson; absotively there is.
And if you pray and listen to these good brothers and sisters, and especially the "three teampyro amigos", and especially how they share the heart of, and whole of, the Holy Scripture, you will see as well.

Hey, you're not the Don Johnson who was 'Miami Vice' are you?

Mike Riccardi said...

Don Johnson (as opposed to Don Sands),

I would love to hear how the second half of 1 John 5:1 changes the grammar of the first half.

Don Johnson said...

love God and Mike,

love God here and Mike on your post
used Acts 16:14 as "proof" that regeneration precedes faith.

Before I answer why do you suppose
Lydia was the only person in the book of Acts where it was said "whose heart the Lord opened."

mike said...

why did you type " before and after proof?

Mike Riccardi said...


You've posted 8 times and haven't offered a single argument. Not one. You've made a lot of assertions. You've dismissed others' arguments. And now you've asked pedantic questions, as if you're our seminary professor. But you've hit "Post Comment" no less than eight times without adding substantially to the conversation.

Can I say it within the bounds of Christian love and civility?

Put up or shut up, brother.

Don Johnson said...

Don Sands,

No positively not.

Yes I believe they are good brothers and that's why I'm here to straighten them out as they are trying to do to me.

Sorry not the same Don Johnson.

mike said...

see the thing is, a real conversation requires that we listen to each other, consider what we hear, formulate a response, rinse and repeat.
when one side repeats the same statement, regardless of what has been said in between, and then does it again a lot of times, all the fun leaks out on the floor.

verification : dumscoso
i feel i should be offended

Don Johnson said...


Because its not really proof.

mike said...

is that what Joey was getting at on that Friends episode?
because he kept doing that and i wasn't sure.

love God... said...

Don Johnson,

I asked you what Acts 16:14 meant, I wasn't making it a proof text.

I wasn't trying to convince you of anything...I made some statements about MY regeneration and you had a problem with MY regeneration. I can't help you with that...that's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Would you really try to convince me that I somehow...without my knowledge...used my free will and made a choice to choose God? Now that I wrote it the sentence doesn't even make sense let alone the theology behind it.

Don...you're just going to have to come to grips with the fact that God chose me and other than that you'll have to take it up with Him if that bothers you. :-)

Don Johnson said...


Your probably right about the conversation thing. My problem is that I listen to much and try to first know where the other is coming from.

I'm not as quick on my feet as someone like James White.

I'm new to this blogging concept. In fact I signed up for a google account today.

So please be patient.


Mary Elizabeth Tyler said...

O.K., I think we need lighten up and have frog joke here. Look back at that beautiful, green frog, I think he is saying, as he holds his sore, little tummy, "That last bug did it for me, I should've had a V-8."

Let's be cool, Don seems like a pretty nice person. Just confused!!! :)

Don Johnson said...

love God,

I believe you were regenerated, but I believe you had faith first.

Faith always precedes regeneration.

It must always be in that order for God to remain just.

love God... said...


You're killing me...you can believe all you want about what happened to me but it doesn't make it so. Remember this is about me...not about you! :-)

Just curious...what church do you attend?

Don Johnson said...

love God,

Calvary Baptist Church

Stefan said...


That is one contented frog.

Even as we struggle up the narrow, rocky road, may we all strive to rest in Christ with such simple contentment!

Don Johnson said...

love God,

I don't mean to offend you or anyone else.

About a year and a half ago I went through a troubling Calvinistic
time in my life. I'll not go into details since anyone could read this.

About 15 months ago I felt led of the Lord to write a book refutting calvinism or least the first four points of the TULIP. I do believe in eternal security.

In the first chapter I believe I conclusively prove that faith precedes regeneration.

I know R C Sproul says in his book Chosen By God that "a maxim of reformed theology is that regeneration precedes faith." He then goes on using logic to support his theory. What he lacked was scriptural support.

I can't make you listen to the scriptual support which teaches that faith precedes regeneration,but as a brother in Christ I'm asking if you will.


Mary Elizabeth Tyler said...

Well, now there ya have it, Stefan.

Is the glass half full or half empty? I thought the frog had indigestion. lol!

Don Johnson said...

love God, Sven, Mary and Mike,

I'll send you a copy of the book if you'll continue to dialogue with me.

Mike Riccardi said...

Dialogue, Don, means two-way communication. After sixteen comments now, you've still yet to make an argument.

love God... said...


I'm sorry something happened to you that changed the way you see God. I think Phil and others have tried to make you see that scripturally you can't refute it. It's there in scripture Don, you just don't want to see it and I'm pretty sure RC Sproul did not simply use logic to make a case for regeneration preceding faith.

You haven't offended me. I am firmly grounded in what I know God did for me so I do not take offense when someone else can't see it.

Don I hope you will find peace one day in the knowledge that God is good, He can do things outside of our understanding and just because we do not fully understand them...that does not make Him unjust.

Thanks for the offer of the book but I really have no interest in reading why you don't believe what happened to me happened to me.

Take care Don...

Mike Riccardi said...

By the way, if any lurkers out there are interested in a thorough, exegetical treatment of 1 John 5:1 as it relates to the ordo salutis, I know of nothing more thorough than this video, especially starting at around 2:50.

For a more historical-theological treatment of the doctrine, this video is also great (12:36 to 17:26, especially).

Mike Riccardi said...

Weird, the second link was dead. Try this.

If not, the full address is:

Sven Pook said...

Man: I came here for a good argument.
Don Johnson: No you didn't; no, you came here for an argument.
Man: An argument isn't just contradiction.
Don Johnson: It can be.
Man: No it can't. An argument is a connected series of statements intended to establish a proposition.
Don Johnson: No it isn't.
Man: Yes it is! It's not just contradiction.
Don Johnson: Look, if I argue with you, I must take up a contrary position.
Man: Yes, but that's not just saying 'No it isn't.'
Don Johnson: Yes it is!
Man: No it isn't! Argument is an intellectual process. Contradiction is just the automatic gainsaying of any statement the other person makes.
(short pause)
Don Johnson: No it isn't.

Now, I don’t mean to be offensive, but shouldn’t you offer some Scriptural support of your position?

In my next post I will list Scriptural support for Total Depravity. Your next step should be to:
First; explain why the Holy Spirit would lead you to write a book that denies a position that DOES have Scrptural support.
Second; either explain how a completely depraved person can possibly choose righteousness unless God FIRST changes that depraved person.
Third; offer actual Scriptural support for your position

Sven Pook said...

Genesis 6:5, 8:21, 2 Chronicles 6:36, Job 4:17-19, 15:14-16, 25:4, 40:4 (Note: See Job 1:1), Psalm 14:1-3, 51:5, 53:3, 116:11, 130:3, 143:2, Proverbs 20:9, Ecclesiastes 7:20, Isaiah 64:6, Jeremiah 4:22, 17:9, Matthew 7:11, 9:4, 12:34, 15:19, Mark 7:20-23, Luke 18:18-19, John 2:24-25, 3:19, 7:7, Acts 13:38-39 (the impossibility of deserving salvation on our merit), Romans 3:9-18, 5:12, 7:18, Galatians 3:10-11 (the impossibility of deserving salvation on our merit), 22, Ephesians 2:1-5, James 2:10 (See Ezekiel 33:13), 3:2, 8, 1 Peter 4:3, 1 John 1:8-10, Now that we understand that all are evil go to Jeremiah 17:10 and Revelation 2:23 and see what God will do about it and what we truly deserve.

Don Johnson said...


You listed several verses showing man is bad shape. Also verses showing man does not deserve salvation. I agree with all that.

But what verse did you use to show that man has the inability to believe the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

The Squirrel said...

Sven Pook:

That skit came to my mind also, as I was reading through the comments.

Well done. Carry on.


Bobby Grow said...

The Bible doesn't teach that we don't have free-will after the 'Fall'; instead it teaches since we are captured by loving ourself (or sin) we will only choose those things that benefit the self --- i.e. not choose God.

I would only want to add on the ordo salutis, that if we think of God's life as 'salvation' (or personify salvation in God's life); then salvation necessarily precedes faith, as sure as Christ incarnated and gave Himself for us.

In other words, I think in order to speak about the ordo; we need to define what we mean by salvation, faith (and regeneration, for some). If we think of salvation, like I said, in personal terms; then salvation is a 'personal' gift that has already been given to the world in Christ (Jn 3:16), what we do is 'respond' (I Jn 4:19).

Mary Elizabeth Tyler said...


"He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to **them** it is not given (Matt 13:11)."

Also, Mar 4:11; Luke 8:10.

Who is them, and notice that it was GIVEN?

Don Johnson said...

Sven and Mike,

Before I begin please let me know if I'm understanding the Calvinist position on Irresistible Grace correctly.

The doctrine of IG is the regenerating of a person in order for him to receive faith and then become saved. The reason for regeneration being first is because man is dead and is not able to respond to the gospel. Therefore God must first give him life before he can make any move to God.

If that is the Calvinist' position please confirm if not please correct. I want to make sure we are talking about the same thing.

Bobby Grow said...


What do you mean by regeneration?

Don Johnson said...


I use regeneration because it is the most commonly used word among Calvinist' to describe the new birth.

Other words meaning the same would be: born again, life, quickened, made alive, born of God and Son of God.

donsands said...

"I'm here to straighten them out" _Don Johnson, (not the Miami Vice one)

That's quite a statement.

Ephesians 2:8 says: "For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God."

Seems that faith is a gift here.

"For it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only BELIEVE in him but also suffer for his sake." Phil. 1:29
God grants that we believe.

"But I received mercy because I had acted ignorantly in unbelief, and the grace of our Lord overflowed for me with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus." 1 Tim. 1:13-14

Jesus said, "You cannot see unless you are born again."

So, we are shown mercy by God. He takes a granite hard heart, like mine, and yours, and makes it tender, so that we hate sin, and love Him, and have faith in Him.

What a Savior! And He receives all, every ounce, of glory, and we love that He does.

Have a blessed Lord's Day.

Bobby Grow said...

Thanks Don! Here's what I think of the Classical Calvinist doctrine of regeneration and its history.

When Classic (vs. 'Evangelical Calvinist, which is my position) Calvinists speak of regeneration before faith it is informed by something. I want to suggest that it is informed by a philosophical perspective known as Aristotelianism (a la Aristotle), mediated through Thomas Aquinas’ assimilation of Aristotle; all of this came to be known as ‘conceptual’ scholasticism. Anyway the impact that this makes is that ‘regeneration’ becomes a ‘quality’ or a ‘thing’ or a ‘substance’ that elect people are given. Then they are able to cooperate with God (‘freely’) by using this ‘grace’ to appropriate salvation by ‘faith’. So in this account then, the regeneration that proceeds faith for this elect person is actually a ‘thing’ (it is a created grace) instead of a ‘person’ (who ‘is’ uncreated grace). The real problem with this view is that it makes salvation a predicate (or dependent) upon ‘man’s determination’/'man’s cooperation’; instead of vice versa. Salvation is not a ‘predicate’ of man (this is a ‘man-centered’ view of salvation), instead man’s life is predicated upon God’s life in Christ, or salvation.

Classic Calvinists and Arminians depersonalize, in the main, the concept of grace, in particular; and salvation in general by using categories that are at odds with a thoroughly Trinitarian view of salvation offered by scripture. To say that Classic Calvinism and scripture are self-same --- and thus speaking of "Calvinism" at all becomes a distraction (as if its not a 'theory' of soteriology, which it is) poses real problems (esp. for those who want to approach this issue with any kind of "criticality" and understand the historical underpinnings from which it flows --- its not just "Greek exegesis" which gives us Classic Calvinism).

There are other developments of Calvinism besides the one described here.

Jonathan Moorhead said...


Can you give us some contemporary examples of "Classic Calvinists" that promote what you are claiming?

love God... said...

Bobby Grow…I would like you to listen to what I am saying. I am no scholar and I do not have any idea what you are talking about. All I know is that God opened my eyes.

…ala John 9… Now as Jesus passed by, He saw a man who was blind from birth. And His disciples asked Him, saying, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” Jesus answered, “Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but that the works of God should be revealed in him…He spat on the ground and made clay with the saliva; and He anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay. …..Therefore they said to him, “How were your eyes opened?” He answered and said, “A Man called Jesus made clay and anointed my eyes and said to me, ‘Go to the pool of Siloam and wash.’ So I went and washed, and I received sight….One thing I know: that though I was blind, now I see.” Then they said to him again, “What did He do to you? How did He open your eyes?” He answered them, “I told you already, and you did not listen. Why do you want to hear it again? Do you also want to become His disciples?”

Now I am not using that as a proof text…I’m just trying to show you how God opened my eyes. The fact is I don’t know exactly how it happened but that doesn’t preclude me from being able to “see” now.

Bobby and Don Johnson…Jesus said “unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore whoever humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.”

All I can tell you is I have child like faith. And I am ok with that. I also know that on that day when I see my Savior face to face all of the multitudes will be amazed that I am there. And God will get all the glory…because there is no way that I should be there…everyone will know that. It will be made clear that I am only there because God is good and just and merciful and He saved a wretch like me….why?....for His glory. Why? I don't know it still doesn't make sense to me but it is fantastic and I am so thankful.

philness said...


You would agree the order of salvation goes like this?

A. Regeneration- new birth
B. Conversion- repentance & faith
C. Justification- positionally righteous

Proceeds and precedes are dangerously two different words.

Regeneration PRECEDES faith.

You have to be born before you can ever sit in a chair.

Don Johnson said...

love God,

Thank you for your testimony it was

I'm not going to argue with you you seem to nice of a person. I'll save the arguing with other Calvinists.

It appears the Holy Spirit was doing exactly was Jesus said He would in your life John 16:8-12.


Don Johnson said...


The correct order is

1. Repentance and Faith

2. Justification

3. Regeneration

olan strickland said...

Don Johnson: But what verse did you use to show that man has the inability to believe the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

How about John 6:63-65?

Don Johnson: The correct order is

1. Repentance and Faith

2. Justification

3. Regeneration

Don, is faith generated in man or does it originate in man?

Everyday Mommy© said...

Absolutely beautiful post, Phil. This is all my Calvinism.

Mike Riccardi said...

I'm not going to argue with you you seem to nice of a person.

Then you must think, Don, that we're all really very nice people, because after 20 comments you haven't made a single argument.

Bobby, I'm scared to ask this question, but do you consider yourself a monergist or a synergist? Would you consider what you call 'classic Calvinism' to be monergistic or synergistic?

Don Johnson said...


I deal with John 6:37,44,65 in the last chapter of my book. I will be happy to discuss them once we are through showing faith precedes regeneration.

The verses in John 6 have nothing to do with regeneration despite reports to the contary.

I'll discuss them now if you or anyone else can show me which word in 37,44 or 65 means regenerated, born again, quicken or made alive.

I believe Calvinist will not change his mind about what he's been told John 6 means until he first comes to the truth that faith must always precede regeneration.

Faith comes from hearing the word of God Rom. 10:17 coupled with the work of the Holy Spirit John 16:8.

Don Johnson said...


Great to see you're back.

I watched your video by James White. Good to see he's as humble as ever.

Mike or anyone else please watch it again. You'll notice around the 6 minue mark he mentions context and then quickly corrects himself. also towards the end he claims he exegetes 1 John 5:1 in its context.

Could someone point out to me where he uses any context.


olan strickland said...


The verses in John 6 have everything to do with man's inability to believe and come to faith in Christ apart from it being granted from the Father FIRST.

My question: Don, is faith generated in man or does it originate in man? is simple enough. Which is it?

Also, why did you leave out John 6:63?

The reason Don, you won't answer my first question is because as soon as you affirm that faith does not originate in man but is in fact generated in man, the truth of regeneration before faith is verified.

Don Johnson said...


You of course believe in synergy of some sort.

Sven Pook said...

Don Johnson:

Yes, you are right that I ". . . listed several verses showing man is bad shape. Also verses showing man does not deserve salvation."

What you failed to do was comment on what I asked you to comment upon:

"In my next post I will list Scriptural support for Total Depravity (the Scripture you comment in the above quote). Your next step should be to:
First; explain why the Holy Spirit would lead you to write a book that denies a position that DOES have Scrptural support.
Second; either explain how a completely depraved person can possibly choose righteousness unless God FIRST changes that depraved person.
Third; offer actual Scriptural support for your position"

It reminds me of the illustration I once heard from Greg Bahnsen, "It is much like a little boy who is slapping his father in the face, the boy never realizes that he couldn't do so unless his father was holding him up in the first place.

The question is first causes; Do we, somehow, conjure up faith to believe? Or does that faith come from God?

Could I, in the state of depravity that I was in previous to salvation, have chosen God?

These are all questions that you have not answered in any way, shape or form. You have merely, as the child in Dr Bahnsen's illustration, contradicted statements without adding any evidence.

If you had offered evidence, Scriptural, anecdotal or otherwise I would love to continue the debate. As it is, I have no time for playground games, my family needs me to be there for them.

I will pray that you have peace with God, though you seem intent on "proving" that He is not in control and that man is.

You seemed intent on promoting your book earlier, I did not come to promote my book, merely to tell Phil "good job" on his article and on an interview he did of John MacArthur.

Don Johnson said...


I can't answer the first.

second and third I'll start showing in my next post.

As far as promoting my book, I can't even give it away on this site.

Mike Riccardi said...


Saying that someone's exegesis is invalid because they ignored the context is not an argument. It's an assertion. You have to prove that what James White said about 1 John 5:1 is invalidated by contextual factors that they didn't take into account. So you need to demonstrate an exegesis of the passage including the context (as you see it), and then present an argument for why your exegesis is superior to someone else's.

But you haven't done that. You haven't even given anyone any inclination to think you're going to do that. And the reason is, as I said before, is that nothing that the Apostle John says elsewhere in his letter will invalidate what he has actually said in 1 John 5:1. No contextual factors will change the text. You know that, and are stuck with the grammar of 1 John 5:1, which entirely destroys your position.

Now, you can say, "No it doesn't destroy my position," but, again, that's not an argument. You need to show why. Which means you actually need to interact with what has been presented.

I've written extensively about this subject, and as I read the back and forth from all the commenters I feel like copying and pasting the whole series of what I've written, because I think it's potentially helpful. Instead, I'll give a link, and do my best to summarize below. Here we go:

Jesus tells Nicodemus in John 3 that because he's not born again he cannot see the kingdom of God. He can look right at the miracles Jesus is doing -- and even praise Him for them! -- and still not see them. Because Scripture presents that we can see with our eyes, but be blind in the eyes of our hearts (Matt 13:13-14; Deut 29:2-4). And 2 Corinthians 4:3-6 says that that is precisely the work of Satan: to blind minds so that they won't see the Light of the gospel of the glory of Christ.

So the point is: our spiritual death (cf. Eph 2:1-3; Col 2:13) is our inability to see the Good News of the glory of God in Christ as it actually is: incomparably beautiful and supremely desirable. Unbelief is looking right at Jesus -- whether you're a ruler of the Jews in the Ancient Near East or whether you're an American reading you're Bible -- and being entirely unimpressed, entirely unaffected.

So the picture that Scripture paints for us (cf. passages above) is: we are dead, which means we can’t see things as they are. When we are regenerated -- when God decides to graciously grant new life -- we get new eyes so that we can see. Now, we’re able to evaluate things as they truly are... to evaluate sin as it truly is, and to evaluate Jesus as He truly is, compare the two, and make a choice. And now, finally seeing the perfect glory of Jesus in all His fullness, and seeing the rotting garbage of sin and worldly "pleasures" right next to Him, with your brand new eyes that can actually see things, we choose Jesus. Always, without fail, we choose Jesus, because our eyes can finally truly evaluate His attractiveness as compared to the attractiveness of sin. Grace is irresistible not because it's forced down our throats; grace is irresistible because Jesus is irresistible.

And so the moment that God decisively acts in giving us that grace -- the grace of the new birth -- that is the moment of faith. You are spiritually awakened, which means you are given eyes that can actually see. You see the beauty of Christ, and you believe that He is the Son of God who became man, who lived a perfect life and died in your place to pay the penalty that you incurred for your sin. You believe that there's no other way to commend yourself to God than on the basis of His righteousness. And because you finally see Him, He is so sweet to you. You love Him! You can't resist Him! And you embrace Him with the glad, open arms of faith, and you are saved.

Jonathan Moorhead said...

Don Johnson wrote a book?!

Don Johnson said...


James white is a brilliant man I know that. Which is why he doesn't exegete 1 John 5:1 in its context. He knows his explanation would not make sense if he used the context. Then he does the very same thing he accuses non-Calvinists of doing. Namely by trying to go other texts instead of exegeting the one he has in context. Then when he's done he has the boldness to say he used the context when in fact he never touched the context.

Don Johnson said...


Unless you want me address something else I'll start in my next post giving the Biblical proof that faith precedes regeneration.

Actually first I'll state why faith must come first.

Mary Elizabeth Tyler said...

Well said, Mike Riccardi, well said!

That is the way I SEE it, and I am sure many others here, as well.

Jesus is beautiful and sin is abhorrent. Only the new birth can open our eyes to such beauty and holiness, and only the new birth can make us desire what we once hated and never gave a second thought to.

Don, you seem like a very nice person, but you have failed to uphold your position with credible argument and Scripture backing.

Look at Acts 13:48 again.

"And when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad, and glorified the word of the Lord: and as many as were ordained to eternal life believed (Acts 13:48)."

To ordain means to decree, predestine, destine.

So we look to first causes, which came first, man's belief or God's ordaining that man believe? Acts 13:48 is pretty clear.

You never answered this one!

olan strickland said...

Don Johnson wrote a book?!

Yes, with this bold but unestablished claim: In the first chapter I believe I conclusively prove that faith precedes regeneration.

That from a man who will not answer this simple question: Don, is faith generated in man or does it originate in man?

And also from a man who claims to keep Scripture in context while ignoring John 6:63 in an attempt to prove that John 6 has nothing to do with being regenerated or made alive.

Mike Riccardi said...

He knows his explanation would not make sense if he used the context.

Support that statement. I challenge you to not hit the "Publish Your Comment" button again until you show us why his explanation would not make sense if the used the context.

In other words, you use the context and show how your exegesis makes sense better than his.

The challenge is: do that, or do nothing else. Don't tell us you'll do it in your next post. Do it in your next post.

olan strickland said...

Don Johnson:
1. There is no such thing as Total Inability.

2. There is no such thing as Unconditional Election.

3. There is no such thing as Limited Atonement.

4. There is no such thing as Irresistible Grace.

I don't believe in the perseverance of the saints but I do believe in the preservation of the saints.

If you stay with me I believe I can prove all of these from scripture.

Now that you think I'm completely wacko we can begin.

3:48 PM, April 23, 2010

Unless you want me address something else I'll start in my next post giving the Biblical proof that faith precedes regeneration.

Actually first I'll state why faith must come first.

Look out everybody! Nearly twenty hours later Don Johnson in his next post is giving Biblical proof that faith precedes regeneration.


Don Johnson said...


God cannot regenerate a man until he is first justified. a man cannot be justified until his sins are washed away. His sins are not washed away until he has repentance and faith.

When God regenerates He is not simply making one alive. Because a person born of God is a Son of God and as such is a new creature. I refuse to believe that a Son of God could still be in his sins and then sometime later have faith and then get forgiveness.

God is just and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus Rom. 3:26 because our sins have been removed, and we are declared righteous.

For God to make a person a son of His who remains in his sins violates the very Holiness of God.

Don Johnson said...


"So we look to first causes, which came first, man's belief or God's ordaining that man believe? Acts 13:48 is pretty clear."

Mary can you show me where in Acts 13:48 where it says "God" ordained someone to eternal life.

To infer God into the text is eisegesis. Now if you have cross ref. stating God ordains people to eternal life then it would be ok to assume it here.

If you don't have cross referenences stating the same you must from the context determine what it means.

Don't tell Mike about the context stuff he thinks they are irrelevant.

Bobby Grow said...

Jonathan M

1)R.C. Sproul 2)Michael Horton 3)Scott Clark 4)John Piper 5)John MacArthur 5)Phil Johnson 6)Jonathan Moorhead et al.

Nobody says it like I do, it doesn't "preach." But I'm not really trying to approach this from a superficial level; instead I'm trying to dig deeper and understand where these categories came from, philosophically --- and then understand how these philosophical categories were integrated with Scripture and Christian theology.

I won't, of course, be able to "prove" any of this here; all I'm doing is presenting thesis statements, which cannot be developed in a comment meta on a blog. So my hope here is just to provoke folks to think there might be more going on with terms like regeneration, faith, etc. relative to what has shaped and informed these categories in the form we have them in today. I want folks to realize there are different 'traditions of interpretation' relative to these concepts; and that to assert as Phil did that Classic Calvinism and scripture are the same thing (a la Spurgeon's statement) is simply not the case (although I understand how subjectively this holds true for Phil and others; they are thoroughly convinced of their "interpretive tradition" --- as I am of mine).

I think a good place to start for some of the readers here is R.T. Kendall's book: Calvin and English Calvinism to 1649, of course I just looked it up; and its quite expensive (its out of print, shux). Anyway, even given the controversy around his book I think he has a sound discussion on the 'reflexive nature of faith' that 'Bezan Calvinism' provides (which serves as the tradition from whence Classic Calvinism flows, whether that be a full-fledged Federal Calvinism; or the one that is popular here, a more "Spurgeonized Calvinism" or Baptistic [non-'Covenant']).


I don't like framing it like that. I would rather frame it or ground the ordo salutis (order of salvation) in Christ; and then speak from there. I believe "objectively" that given our union with Christ in the Incarnation (II Cor 5:21 I Cor 6:17) we are all put to death and "made alive" in Christ. I believe that the 'elect' will "respond" (this is the subjective side) by the Holy Spirit out of the faith of Christ (cf. Gal 2:20, note the subjective genetive at play there). You'll notice that I don't follow a logico-causal model here. So I can say that Christ died for all (the implication of the Incarnation, i.e. Christ became "humanity" universal); while at the same time I can speak of the 'elect' in Christ (who is elect of God in His humanity) and relegate the 'why' of the reprobate to the "mystery of sin." (i.e. still within the bounds of God's sovereignty)

Mike R.,

I would consider myself a unilateralist vs. the "bilateralism" provided by the Classic Calvinist framework (best illustrated by the "P" in the TULIP and how the doctrine of perseverance is subjectively fleshed out in the believer's life). I think the language of monergism/synergism is to loaded, philosophically --- through Stoic categories of determinism [which Calvin rebuffed as well] --- for me to be able to latch onto. In other words, I believe that this language is tied to a 'Doctrine of God' (or theology proper) that I cannot accept.

But to satisfy your curiosity :-) my approach would be on the monergistic side of things --- just framed much differently.

Bobby Grow said...


love God,

Please understand, I'm not coming here and challenging anyone's salvation; if you name the Name of Christ then I count you a brother/sister (and I hope the same is applied to me ;-). I totally appreciate your testimony, that's awesome! All we're discussing here are the 'mechanics' of salvation --- while some consider this stuff worth dividing over (I don't). I see this discussion as highly important, but I see it that way because of how it impacts a person's Christian spirituality and daily walk (and not their eternal destiny). I hope that clarification helps.

I certainly don't think I have it all figured out; I just know I fundamentally disagree with certain elements of what I'm calling "Classic Calvinism" (encapsulating Covenant/Federal and Spurgeon/Baptisitic types).

Strong Tower said...

Well, there we have it. Don Johnson has completely confused categories and proven those he indicted is not confused.

ratio word verification, I rationalize not!

Don Johnson said...


I hope no one is offended by bein addressed as friends. If so I'll change it to whatever you like.

Ok lets finally begin. Yes Olan I know its about time.

My premise which I will set out to prove from scripture and poetic logic is as follows.

FAITH PRECEDES REGENERATION all the time and every time.

If I am correct it destroys the doctrines of Irresistible Grace
and Total Inability, for the obvious reason if one can believe without being born again then he didn't have Total Inability.

If I'm scripturally wrong I will admit Calvinism is correct and I'll come over from the dark side and become a fellow TULIPER.

My first text will follow shortly.

Mary Elizabeth Tyler said...

Hi Don:

Unless I am totally reading Acts 13:48 wrong, it clearly says "AS MANY." As many would be a reference to people, as opposed to trees or bugs or plants. This would be the answer to your question: "Show me where it says "God" ordained someone to eternal life?"

Now, the reference to God, is, the Gentiles were glad because it was the WORD OF THE LORD.

olan strickland said...

Well there you have it! Don Johnson has proven Biblically that faith precedes regeneration without even using the Bible.

Don, here is the crux of the matter: we know that faith precedes justification or to put it Biblically, that a man is justified by faith (Romans 3:28).

We also know that a man is justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus (Romans 3:24).

We also know that faith doesn't originate in man but is generated in him (Romans 3:24-28; 10:17; Ephesians 2:8-9) as a gift.

We also know that no man can have faith in Christ unless it is granted him by the Father (John 6:37, 44, 63-65).

So something must happen before faith which precedes justification. Can you guess what that is?

Don Johnson said...


Mike on your website in the article on Regeneration and Faith you asked for me to look at. You made the following statement.

"Neither can someone have faith without first having new life (which is the synergist's error)."

I call your attention to Acts 11:18
"When they heard these things, they held their peace, and glorified God, saying, Then hath God also to the Gentiles granted repentance unto life."

Notice the last three words. My Bible says "repentance unto life."

Is my Bible in error. Did Luke really mean to write "life unto repentance."

I know many of you have a different version. What do they say. Because either my version is wrong or Luke plainly tells us Repentance precedes life.

love God... said...
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love God... said...
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bp said...

Jumpin' in kind of late here, but to Don J. I'd say that yes, it says "repentance unto life" because: regeneration + repentance/faith in Christ = LIFE

I mean, surely you wouldn't suggest that repentance without regeneration leads to life would you?

Bobby Grow said...

love God,

You are completely misunderstanding where I am coming from. I'm not Arminian, I'm Evangelical Calvinist; which means that I say it's all God and none of me. Which means that I believe God's life "IS" salvation; and that are union with Him is everything. I'm saying He choose for me, in Christ, so I could respond back to Him in reciprocating love (cf I Jn 4:19). Please don't presume something here, please consider, carefully what I just said before you say what you've said to me --- what you've said is completely misunderstanding everything I've said.

If anything note what I said to Mike R. If I operated in the typical Classic Calvinist categories my view would be "monergistic." That's what my point on unilateralism was all about, reframing monergism (it's all God, and I respond out of "HIS CHOICE" for me IN CHRIST).

I don't think you've given me a careful read, at all "love God" read what I said again; and then interact with what I actually said about who will get the glory (certainly not me or you, but sweet Jesus).

Peace, bro.

Don Johnson said...


I'm suggesting repentance leads to regeneration, which is life.


bp said...

You say that "regeneration" IS life? No. regeneration LEADS TO life, but it is not life itself.

Don Johnson said...


Sorry regeneration IS life.

I think the other Calvinists on this site will agree.

bp said...

You see Don, there's where your argument fails. Regeneration is not life..it leads to life for the Christian. And the verse you give does not state where the regeneration occurs.

Don Johnson said...


Sorry once again regeneration IS life.

If you have a scripture to support your view I would be interested to see it.


Don Johnson said...


Sorry once again regeneration IS life.

If you have any scripture to support your view I would be interested to see it.


John said...

Don J,
Not trying to be picky here, but are you really suggesting to prove that regeneration=life=post faith from Acts 11:18? After rejecting Mike's exegesis of the grammar of 1 John 5:1 because he didn't contextualize it? You are contradicting yourself in this. Furthermore, why go to an esoteric "proof text" to try and have your way, when Paul already addresses all of this in his letter to the Romans? The doctrines of grace weren't invented by Calvin, he just organized what Paul already said.

bp said...

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

Everlasting regeneration? Regeneration is something God does to us. Life results.

Gov98 said...

I believe from reading this that Don Johnson has given a great example of how to not present a point of view. I doubt I will do much better, but hey...

Let me say that I think true Arminians vs. Calvinists are quite close, but the probably is that everyone is hung up on Free Will vs. Predestination, just because it's such a lightening rod.

The hard thing is, from one perspective to the other, the hardest part of TULIP I think to reconcile with all of Scripture isn't the T nor the U, nor the L, nor the I, it's in fact the P. That is upon the idea of Perserverance so much stands and falls. BUT those skeptical of Calvinism have largely given up on the P, because "Easy Christianity" (come and sing cool songs with us I like football you like football I like Jesus you should like Jesus) and "Hard Christianity" (strictist Calvinists) agree on it.

But look, Perserverance of the Saints is true. Look at Scripture: You can read them here:

Problematically the Bible also makes it sound clear that endurance is key to "enter into God's rest":


To Continue...

donsands said...

"I think the other Calvinists on this site will agree." D Johnson

I agree.

God is life. Human's are dead. God gives us life; He quickens us.

He grants faith, repentance, and He takes a heart of solid granite, and turns it to flesh; a hard heart, and dead mind, become a soft and tender heart, and a renewed mind.

Christ does it all. He has mercy on dead rebels.

DJ, it seems you don't think we are completely dead, like so many other Christians. We are perhaps deathly ill, but not completely dead.

Calvinists believe we are 100% spiritually dead, and 100% purely natural, and so:

"The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned."

Jesus said, "You MUST be born from above, or else you will not be able to see."

And Calvinists all agree that there's a great infinite mystery as to Hos God works all this out.

It's very deep, and yet it's pure and simple. It's both. When a sinner comes to Christ, he really does come in faith and repentance, but he would never do so, unless God quickened his dead spirit, and yet it is still one of God's lost children being saved, and coming into the kingdom; coming home to his Lord and Father, and the Father rejoices; heaven rejoices that a sinner has repented!

You will never believe like me, and I never like you.

But it's been nice.

Have a joyous Lord's Day!

Don Johnson said...


Read R C Sproul's book chapter 5 Spiritual Death and Spiritual Life: Rebirth and Faith.

RC agrees with me.

Its his other assumptions I don't I don't agree with.

bp said...

Donsand, I don't get it. You say that you agree with him that regeneration IS life. But then you say that God "gives us life". How does He do that Through "regeneration", right? In other words, regeneration brings life. How does that make regeneration equal to life?

I mean, in order to have eternal life, we need repentance, faith and regeneration, right? Then how can regeneration itself = life?

Gov98 said...

Reconciling the numerous passages going each way is to difficult and is impossible for a honest logical human mind to resolve.

So, like people we beat each up on everything else, as though we can just ignore all the exhortations to endure (as though it depends on choices of my own after grace comes to me)

Or just ignore all the promises of endurance if genuinely saved (demonstrating that perservance is solely a work of God).

But Perservance gets papered over because who really wants to push back against that (not me). Yet everything in Scripture makes Christianity sound like hard work, that I should be ready to do if I'm really going to follow (Luke 15:25-34).

The two are irreconciliable by Human Logic. And yet here we are beating each other. One of the beautiful truths of Christianity is that much truth is held in tension. We required to prepare and provide for our families, and also trust in God for our provision. It is a genuine Biblical balance that the World lacks.

Hold one to one thing AND to the other and the one who fears God comes forth with both of them! Ecclesiastes 7:18

Only a God of human making is bound to Human logic...in any which way. After all, shall the thing made answer back to the potter why don't you make it clear to me how this all works.

Don Johnson said...


Yes that is exactly what I'm suggesting.

I have been waiting for someone to show otherwise. So far there hasn't been anyone to offer any counter arguements. Perhaps you will.

Acts 11:18 is only the first of many verses I'll be presenting that teach the same truth.

love God... said...

Bobby, you are correct, my comment should not have been addressed to you. My apologies.

bp said...

I'm pretty confused right now.

As a Calvinist, I've always believed that

Regeneration + faith/repentance leads to Life

If it's true what you're saying (that regeneration = Life) then help me to see how "repentance unto life" does not mean "repentance unto regeneration."


Strong Tower said...

"regeneration IS life" Nope. Don't agree. Regeneration is the act of God in which He creates all the faculties which perform all the things which God has created (generated) it to do, like repent and believe and it is God who works all things in all by his power according to his good pleasure. Except one is born again he cannot understand, know, see, hear, and faith follows hearing: Romans 10:17. And beside that he has given us his Spirit and the mind of Christ that we might understand and do, 1 Corinthians 2. Is repentance to life? Absolutely, would unrepentance be? But simply because repentance is the demonstrantion of life, doesn't mean that it is the efficient cause of it. As Charnock says, God is the only Efficient. But, you Don, make faith God. Understandable, all Arminians do, though they do not recognize it. But it is a dangerous road to go down. Tell us Don, can an unbeliever love God? Or does it take the Love of God being spread abroad in their heart, that is a new heart recreated in the image of the Son, before they can call on Abba Father?

Rick Potter said...

Here's an interesting element concerning faith in Romans 3:21-26:

"Although Paul does not cite the OT in this summary of his gospel, he alludes to it significantly. The revelation of the righteousness of God is a new, saving event, distinct from the law, which bears witness to it together with “the prophets” (3:21). This saving display of God’s righteousness is his justification (cf. 3:4–5 and see below). In this context, “to bear witness” carries a forensic connotation (cf. Rom. 10:2; 1 Cor. 15:15). Paul’s shift in wording from “reveal” (apokalyptō) in 1:17 to “manifest” (phaneroō) in 3:21 likewise indicates more of a visible and public idea, which implies a contrast with hiddenness, and which therefore frequently is bound up with faith and knowledge, especially in Paul’s letters.
The righteousness of God is a saving righteousness, given “through the faith of Jesus Christ, to all who believe.” It has been argued in recent debate that we should understand the genitive relation here as subjective (“Jesus’ faith or faithfulness”) rather than in the traditional, objective sense (“faith in Jesus”). There are good reasons, however, why we should read the semantically rich genitive in yet another way, as describing Jesus Christ as the definitive source of faith. In this case, the objective sense is presupposed (as it is in any case in Paul’s usage of “faith”), but the idea is larger. The “faith of Jesus Christ” (3:22) is the faith given through Jesus Christ. The expression describes not a pattern of obedience in which we participate, as R. Hays proposes (e.g., Hays 2000: 275–76), but rather the source of faith: God gives us faith as a gift through the crucified and risen Christ and the gospel that proclaims him (Seifrid 2000: 139–46)."

Source: Beale, G. K., & Carson, D. A. (2007). Commentary on the New Testament use of the Old Testament (618)

Bobby Grow said...

Jonathan M., and anyone else,

I should include "Strong Tower" on that list too.

He basically states what I said; that in regeneration God "creates" in us (i.e. or uncreated grace, historically) what we need to cooperate with God through in order to appropriate salvation.

And where does the language of "efficient cause" come from --- not scripture --- this is plain and simple Aristotelianism (or "scholastic Thomism"). This is my point, Classic Calvinism does not = the Gospel or Scripture; per se. It instead is an interpretive TRADITION that is attempting to provide an explanation of the assumptions of scripture in a systematic way. And if it is a TRADITION it is most certainly open for critique; and is not unfalsifiably = to the Gospel, necessarily that is.

That's all I really want to challenge folks with here. What you believe about scripture comes from an interpretive tradition (and I think it's not best suited, categorically, for explaining and emphasizing the points of scripture --- esp. when we're talking about a 'doctrine of God').

Daryl said...

Uh...guys? Troll alert?

To sum up.

Don J: You're all wrong, I'll prove it some day.

All: Lets see it.

Don J: No really, I will.

All: Let's see it.

Don J: Actually God told me so. And I wrote it in a book. Want a copy?

All: Where's the proof?

Don J: OK, I mean it. Really. You're all wrong. See? Right there, I proved it.

All: Um...Don?

Moral...if it looks like a troll and sounds like a troll...

P.S. I may (and do) disagree with Johnny Dialectic, but at least he argues...from Scripture even!

Bobby Grow said...

@ Rick Potter,

My point was on the genetive in Galatians 2:20; i.e. whether we have an objective or subjective. I think the evidence supports the subjective and so does renowned NT Greek grammarian (who has written the "standard" grammar for Koine Greek used by most seminaries today).

***"Older commentaries (probably as a Lutheran reflex) see Christou as an objective gen., thus, "faith in Christ." However, more and more scholars are embracing these texts as involving a subjective gen. (thus, either "Christ's faith" or "Christ's faithfulness"). Without attempting to decide the issue, we simply wish to interact with a couple of grammatical arguement, one used for each position.

1) On behalf of the objective gen. view, it is argued that pistis in the NT takes an objective gen. when both nouns are anarthrous; it takes a subjective gen. when both are articular. In response, the data need to be skewed in order for this to have any weight: most of the examples have a possessive pronoun for the gen., which almost always requires the head noun to have an article. Further, all of the pistis Christou texts are in prepositional phrases (where the object of the preposition, in this case pistis, is typically anarthrous). Prepositional phrases tend to omit the article, even when the object of the preposition is definite. The grammatical arguement for the objective gen., then, has little to commend it.

2) On behalf of the subjective gen. view, it is argued that "Pistis followed by the personal genetive is quite rare; but when it does appear it is almost always followed by the non-objective genetive. . . ." This has much more going for it, but still involves some weaknesses. These are two or three clear instances of pistis + objective personal gen. in the NT (Mark 11:22; Jas 2:1; Rev 2:13), as well as two clear instance involving an impersonal gen. noun (Col 2:12; 2 Thess 2:13). Nevertheless, the predominant usage in the NT is with a subjective gen. Practically speaking, if the subjective gen. view is correct, these texts (whether pistis is translated "faith" or "faithfulness") argue against "an implicitly docetic Christology." Further, the faith/faithfulness of Christ is not a denial of faith in Christ as a Pauline concept (for idea is expressed in many of the same contexts, only with the verb pisteuw rather than the noun), but implies that the object of faith is a worthy object, for he himself is faithful. Although the issue is not to be solved via grammar, on balance grammatical considerations seem to be in favor of the subjective gen. view." (Daniel B. Wallace, "Greek Grammar Beyond The Basics," 115-16)***

This should illustrate, at least, a couple of things:

1) Translation of the biblical languages involves "interpretive decisions;" and those decisions are informed by a prior commitment to a theological grid (which has hopefully taken shape by a spiraling process of inductivly studying both Christ's life and scripture).

2) Again, to reiterate, even at the level of translation (let alone exposition and commentary), we are all involved in theological exegesis; this is probably the most gapping whole in "Evangelical scholarship," and one that needs to be corrected.

I'll have to check out the evidence for DA Carson and Beales' reading of Romans.

Strong Tower said...

"And where does the language of "efficient cause" come from --- not scripture --- this is plain and simple Aristotelianism (or "scholastic Thomism")."

Bobby, you are a bozo! Who cares where the language comes from. Cause, efficient cause, creator, what is the difference. You know I meant God and not som Aristotelian category. So stuff it, boy. I clearly said "God has created." Your problem, "You can't handle the truth," so you make up arguments out of garbage can remants of pieces of rot you have chewed on for a while. It is your interpretive tradition that you're espousing here right? Or don't you have one?

"what we need to cooperate with God through in order to appropriate salvation." Wrong I didn't say that. We are given salvation in regeneration. It doesn't give us some grace by which we appropriate it. I call that talisman faith, an gross error found in Arminianism that is comfortable with Roman Catholicism which makes grace a tool we weild. It makes the grace of salvation a kind of occultism. We, to use a modernism, "do salvation," we don't achieve it, gather it to ourselves, or cooperate with God to get it. It is what we are, saved, and we do what we have been made to be.

And yes, both Bobby and Don are trolls Daryl. But we were hoping otherwise.

Rick Potter said...

And, if I may be permitted to submit on more quote of some length:

"The first clear expression of this “shadow to substance” notion in 2:8–23 is in 2:11–13, which anticipates 2:17. In 2:11–13 Paul appears to view the external rite of circumcision as a pointer to the greater redemptive reality of Christ and his followers being “circumcised” or “cut off” from the old sinful world and set apart to a new one. Accordingly, Paul speaks in 2:11 of believers’ redemption consisting of being “circumcised with a circumcision made without hands,” which has occurred by means of the “circumcision of Christ” (i.e., his death [2:11]). “Uncircumcision [akrobystia] of your flesh [sarx]” (2:13a) represented sinful unbelief, from which one needed to be “circumcised.” This is likely an analogical allusion to Gen. 17:10–27, where “the flesh [sarx] of your [or, ‘his’] uncircumcision [akrobystia]” appears four times (see also Gen. 34:24 LXX; Lev. 12:3; Jdt. 14:10). There the point of the narrative is that those who are in covenantal relationship with God should express that relationship through being “circumcised in the flesh of his [lit., ‘your’] uncircumcison” (e.g., Gen. 17:11). This was a symbol expressing that a true Israelite was one whose heart had been cut apart from unbelief and sin and was regenerated (cf. Deut. 10:16; Jer. 4:4). Similarly, Paul compares this physical circumcision to the spiritual reality of the new covenantal relationship with Christ. When believers are identified by faith with Christ’s death, which “cut him off” from the old world and led to his resurrection, they are likewise “cut off” from the old world and subsequently raised (the point of 2:12–13). Paul’s reference to the “removal of the body of the flesh” is likely also part of the allusion to Gen. 17, where also “flesh” is part of the description of the symbolic sinful condition directly preceding circumcision."
Source: Beale, G. K., & Carson, D. A. (2007). Commentary on the New Testament use of the Old Testament (862)

bp said...

Sitting on the edge of my seat, biting my nails, and hoping the thread doesn't get closed before someone answers my simple question...

Bobby Grow said...

Strong Tower said:,

Bobby, you are a bozo! Who cares where the language comes from. Cause, efficient cause, creator, what is the difference. . . .

This is what folks are reduced to when they don't actually have an argument. Yeah, who cares where the language of 'efficient cause' came from; lets not get confused with the facts or truth (since Christians aren't really concerned with that, right?).

Strong Tower said:

. . . So stuff it, boy. I clearly said "God has created."

Again, ad hominen; and you're right, you did say "God has 'created'" and this is the theology I'm challenging (read Thomas Aquinas on "created grace"). The Bible talks about salvation in terms of "uncreated grace" or in personal terms; so the Holy Spirit personifies the action of grace (as Christ personifies the Truth etc. Jn 14:6). The Bible doesn't say God "has created" anything in the process of salvation; instead that the Holy Spirit convicts us (the action of grace is "uncreated" and personal).

I won't respond to the rest, it's not quite clear what you were getting at "Strong."

Trolls just make assertions, they don't attempt to argue with scripture citations or theological thought. Just because I'm challenging your assumptions and you don't know how to respond, except for calling me names; I don't think is the Christian way to approach this, Strong. I thought that's what blogs were for, collegial interaction and challenge.

Rick Potter said...

Bobby Grow: Thanks for your comment. I will look at that for further review. It looks interesting. I have re3spect for Mr. Wallace.

I hope my second quote will show some my effort in showing the catena to your "prior committment to a theological grid".

BTW - That last was working from Col. 2:8-23

Bobby Grow said...

Strong Tower also said:

. . .It is your interpretive tradition that you're espousing here right? Or don't you have one?

And I said, in my origianl comment to Moorhead:

. . . (although I understand how subjectively this holds true for Phil and others; they are thoroughly convinced of their "interpretive tradition" --- as I am of mine).

Sure, we all do, that's my point.

And if anyone thinks I'm presenting a paper-cut reading of things here then go read folks like Richard Muller and Scott Clark (who has a blog "Heidelblog"). They (although they are trul 'Reformed' or Covenant/Federal in their theology) freely admit that Classic Calvinism is shaped by a Thomistic reading. They accept it and defend it; it's a well established fact, for anyone who cares about the history of ideas and where they came from.

Bobby Grow said...


Thank you, I appreciate the time it took for you to post those comments; and I likewise appreciate both Carson and Beale as exegetes and theologians. I will have to look further at what they have to say on this, thanks!

Don Johnson said...


I've never heard of your definition of regeneration. That does not mean it is wrong, but I don't know any other Calvinist that holds your position. or the dictionary for that matter.

Don Johnson said...


No comment on Acts 11:18.

Rick Potter said...

Don Johnston:"I've never heard of your definition of regeneration."
Is this a definition you can agree with?;
4 But when the goodness and love for man appeared from God our Savior, 5 He saved us — not by works of righteousness that we had done, but according to His mercy, 
through the washing of regeneration and renewal by the Holy Spirit. 6 This ⌊Spirit⌋ He poured out on us abundantly  through Jesus Christ our Savior,
7 so that having been justified by His grace, we may become heirs with the hope of eternal life. 
Holman Christian standard version. 2003 (Tit 3:4-7)

Don Johnson said...


2. Galatians 3:26

"For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus."

Does the text say we are children by faith. Or does it say we have faith because we are children.

Don't waste your time looking in the following for answers because they know better its better not to comment.

Chosen By God
The Potter's Freedom
Willing to Believe
The God Who Justifies
The Five Points of Calvinism
The Sovereignty of Grace
The Sovereignty of God
The Doctrines of Grace
Systematic Theology-Gruden

I wonder why they all left it out of their books when it is germane to the topic of their books.

Brian's thoughts said...

I have been hearing alot of harsh statements from the reformed/Calvinistic community about the “new” Calvinism over the last year. Seems like its pretty much 3 issues the “traditional” reformed, is complaining about this “new”Calvinism.

1)that they not “truly” reformed cause they don't follow the “traditional” a Presbyterian/reformed church government. Well lets see the particular baptists did not have “reformed” church government. They were just as bit as Calvinistic as the Presbyterians and congregationalists. Either do the congregationalists, but one would be hard pressed to say that Johnathon Edwards was not Calvinist.

2)The new Calvinism is not truly “Reformed” cause they may not in some churches follow the “traditional” reformed confessions like the Westminister Standards or Three Forms of Unity or neither of London Baptist confessions. This is totally not true. I have seen some “independent/bible” type churches confessions of faith over the years and their pretty calvinistic

3)that these new Calvinists are too “spirit-filled”,”fruits of the spirit”. Well im sure the first Great Awakening was that way and it was very Calvinistic

I guess my point is just cause a church or a movement is not your “type” of Calvinism. That doesn't mean they are not true blue Calvinists. I mean if u follow the 5 points”Tulip” in your theology, you are considered Calvinist.

Don Johnson said...


I very much agree with the definition of Titus 3:5 but I have a feeling your not going to.

olan strickland said...

Don Johnson: I call your attention to Acts 11:18
"When they heard these things, they held their peace, and glorified God, saying, Then hath God also to the Gentiles granted repentance unto life."


First of all you haven't even come close to demonstrating that you are capable of handling Scripture without twisting it.

Not only that, you haven't even answered my simple question of whether or not faith is generated in man or if it originates in him. You can't because there is absolutely no Biblical support for your position.

Now back to Acts 11:18. You said, "Notice the last three words. My Bible says "repentance unto life."

Why do with this verse the same thing you did with John 6:63 and overlook what it really says? Instead of noticing the last three words, notice the last four words. Your Bible says, "granted repentance unto life."

You see Don, no matter how hard you try salvation isn't in the hands of man. Get over it!

Don Johnson said...


I know I'm not going to convince any 5 pointer with just one verse. There are plenty more coming one at a time.

Yes Salvation is of the Lord.

Praise the Lord Gentiles can be saved.

Since you don't want to answer Acts 11:18 perhaps Gal. 3:26.

Strong Tower said...

"They accept it and defend it; it's a well established fact, for anyone who cares about the history of ideas and where they came from"

So what you're saying is that you cannot have an idea independent of a historic steam of ideas if that stream exists? IOW, you're saying that terms that are used in one stream mean the same in all streams and you're bound up by that so everyone else has to be, also? That because someone has had a similar thought in the past to one currently held, or vice verse, that all must hold to every aspect of it, because you do?

Or, could it be Bobby, that you have just thrown all kinds of things in to your take on regeneration and are now presenting a tossed salad that if others find out what games you're playing, you would have to stand accountable for what is in it?

"(read Thomas Aquinas on "created grace")"

Would you quit it, already?

I didn't say created grace at all. That is a category you have to have in play to make your scheme work. I said that regeneration is an act of grace by which God created a new creature, not a grace created which a person can use. God creates a new person, a new kind of person called a believer and he does what a believer does, believe. That you don't get. You want to take it into Thomist categories because that is what you want it to mean, not that it has to be anything like that. Beside that, you want to drag everyone else along into your fantasy. This has nothing to do with Aquinas. So stuff your games back in their hole. That is not ad hominem, it is putting a little boys'games in the toy box.

"The Bible doesn't say God "has created" anything in the process of salvation;"

It is a flat out lie to say that God has not created anything new in salvation. The word is gennao. It means to create. It is a synonym for ktizo. Gennao is the root from which we derive Genesis; from the root ginomai, to be made. To be born again, anagennao, or gennao anothen, is the same as becoming a kainos ktisis. It is a more personal term relating to the familial bond, but it means the same, none the less. It has the same meaning in terms of what God does in making man a new creature, he creates him new and that is the act of grace that takes place. It is not a grace created, it is a new person who is created.

My suspicion, Bobby, is that you don't like the fact that God can recreate persons or that by that means they are born again. You really seem to hate the fact that there is a creator and he is not you.

Don Johnson said...


My last post was meant for you not Rick.

Justin Maute said...

Great post Phil! I think you've shown that many believers are reformed and don't even know it. If arminians embrace calvinism they will no longer have to skip over large excerpts of scripture inlvolving election or predestination. Sounds good to me!

Bobby Grow said...

One of my blogs url is:



As far as creation and recreation; certainly I believe in that. The context of my statement though was in re. to regeneration. I don't believe in "created grace," that's all.

I took 4yrs of Koine Greek, thanks for the lesson "Strong."

Nope, I don't believe in presuppositionless exegesis. I don't believe in theological vacuums. And don't believe that middle-aged white men have anymore authority behind their statements than youngerish white male men do ;-) --- the facts are the facts; and the noetic structure of thought is just that (we all have one, and they have all taken shape within certain cultural forces that then impinge on the way we approach and thus interpret scripture).

Thomas Aquinas has everything to do with this discussion; but there first must be an appreciation for history in order to appreciate my above assertion.

I was just responding to what you originally said, "Strong;" if you don't hold to "created grace" then that's great! All I'm doing is recounting some of the "history and character of Calvinism;" of course there are other traditions within the broader stream of Calvinism (like the Scottish tradition [represented by folks like Jonathan Fraser of Brea, Hugh Binning, and Jonathan McLeod Campbell], that I follow; or the so called "Spiritual Brethren" [these were non-Federal Calvinists like Sibbes and Preston] who developed alongside "The Intellectual Fathers" [which is what has become popular nowadays amongst most Calvinists in America and elsewhere and developed by William Perkins, Aames, and the Westminster 'divines']). I don't know what "stream" you would most identify with; I mistakenly assumed that it was most likely "The Intellectual Fathers" (given your appeal to language like 'efficient cause' and such --- the other traditions I mentioned wouldn't appeal to that language in the way you did), I stand corrected.

Anyway, how would you define regeneration?

bp said...

..I've fallen off the edge of my seat, my nails are all bit off, and judging by the fact that personal jabs are being made and points are simply being repeated, I'm thinking the thread will be closed before someone answers my question. :-/

Bobby Grow said...


Which is why I'm done.

I checked out your blog, I'll be praying for your physcial condition; God's grace is sufficient! I'm glad His sovereignty is shaped by His love, that way we always know that He's doing what's best for us; even if it's hard to understand at the moment.

In Christ

B Barnes said...

@Don Johnson

I believe you are confusing terms; there is a difference between life, as in eternal life, like in Acts 11:48, and life, as in regeneration, like in Ephesians 2:1, 5 or John 1:12-13

Or, are you saying that eternal life and regeneration are the same? If you are saying the latter, I would have to disagree and I think others would also.

Mike Riccardi said...


I don't think we should say that regeneration is life, strictly speaking, but that it is the act of God by which God imparts spiritual life to the soul.


What tradition did Aquinas follow?

Bobby Grow said...

Aristotle (it's claimed he followed Augustine as well, he referred to him quite a bit). Also Lombard, which all the scholastics did at some level.

Don Johnson said...


Repentance unto life does mean repentance unto regeneration.

Which is why there are not any answers from any of the Calvinists. Because they can't find away around the clear teaching of the text.

I to am afraid the thread we be closed because I have several more verses that show faith precedes regeneration.

I know these are not answers you wanted but if this thread stays open long enough I believe you'll see them to be true.

You seem to be open to the truth and I commend you for that.

Mike Riccardi said...


So no one just followed Paul, who followed Jesus? They skipped over those two guys back to Aristotle?

Mike Riccardi said...

My point, Bobby, is that insisting that you come to the text with a preunderstanding is not a virtue. It is something to be avoided at all costs with the utmost care. Virtue in interpretation doesn't lie in admitting your biases. That's simply a postmodern distortion of "authenticity." Virtue in interpretation lies in relentlessly examining yourself to rid yourself of your preunderstanding, that is, to come to the text on its own terms.

The reason that you'll never convince me of what you call "Evangelical Calvinism" is because you cannot do it from Scripture apart from your own admitted biases. I, and hopefully all other evangelicals, have absolutely no interest in your ideas. We want to know what God has said. And if you can't tell me what He's said, apart from your own ideological constructs which are not derived from other passages of Scripture, then you shouldn't say anything.

Do I claim to have an absolutely pure interpretation of Scripture? No I don't. But that's only because if I knew where the impurities were I'd change my thinking accordingly. If someone shows me from Scripture where my interpretation goes wrong, then I'll change it.

Neither does that mean that I always perform exegesis independent of my theology, but I should strive for this. And even when I do implement my theology as an exegetical handmaiden, I must do so because my theology itself was derived from an objective exegesis. That is, if I've determined from texts like Isaiah 45:7; 46:10; Psalm 33:11; Eph 1:11-12; etc. that God is the ultimate cause of all that comes to pass, I can use that theology later on to help me interpret James 1:13, but only because my previous conclusion was arrived at by Scripture and Scripture alone.

Dr. Robert Thomas wrote a book called Evangelical Hermeneutics, where he deals with how "preunderstanding" has infiltrated the study of interpretation and meaning since the 1970s, and how it's served to obfuscate, not explain, the meaning of Scripture. I recommend it to you.

Here's the introduction to Chapter 2: "The Origin of Preunderstanding: From Explanation to Obfuscation":

Hermeneutical theoreticians have done remarkable work in expounding the theoretical bases of hermeneutics, yet their publications have created confusion to the point that exegetical practitioners must become involved in the discussion of hermeneutical procedures. The roots of the new subjectivism and relativism that have become a part of evangelical hermeneutics go back to the philosopher Immanuel Kant and his emphasis on a second realm of reality, the subjective realm. The result of his influence was an insistence on beginning the exegetical process with a focus on the interpreter’s preunderstanding. Though theoreticians do not agree in defining preunderstanding, they do agree on how it affects the result of the interpretive process. It brings a degree of tentativeness to all conclusions and thus hinders the interpreter from deriving propositional truth from Scripture.

Prior to the change in evangelical hermeneutics, hermeneutical authorities emphasized the importance of ridding oneself of personal bias, thereby enhancing the certainty of exegetical conclusions. Interpreters can be confident of objectivity by emphasizing God’s ability to communicate rather than the human inability to receive communication, God’s purpose in special revelation that cannot be thwarted, the Holy Spirit’s illumination in repressing personal biases, and neutral objectivity as seen in the constancy of church doctrine through the centuries. Only then
[that is, when interpreters are confident in objectivity by emphasizing the superiority of God rather than the inferiority of man] will interpreters return to an explanation rather than an obfuscation of Scripture.

Bobby Grow said...


Actually it was Averroes and the Muslims who preserved Aritstotle; Aquinas benefited from its translation into Latin and became acquainted with Aristotle's metaphysics this way. So it was mediated to the scholastics through the Muslims.

Aquinas referred to Augustine and the tradition as the most faithful interpreter of Paul; which is what most Christians still do in reference to doctrines like original sin etc. The scholastics, Aquinas being one of their stand-outs, followed a methodology known as dialecticism which entailed: 1. the offering of a thesis (on a particular topic of theology or biblical interpretation); then an anti-thesis was offered (through public disputation); then a synthesis was concluded upon; which then became the new thesis, and this whole process started over (just read Thomas' Summae to see what I mean). So we end up with a commentary building tradition; which is how medieval interpretation (and I dare say even today in many circles) took place.

This was rivaled by Christian Humanism, which was a movement to get back to the sources (Lorenzo Valla being an important person here). This served as part of the impetus for the Prot. Reformation, and the climate wherein Luther lived. They desired to get back to the sources (thus they learned the Biblical languages again) and appealed heavily to the Patristics (instead of the commentary tradition that Aquinas and others were apart of). But even the Christian Humanists realized that there were certain informing voices that shaped the way they interpreted the Scriptures.

Having said all this, Mike; I do believe that biblical exegesis/theology is its own discipline and that there is inherent and authorial intended meaning in the text. But I think getting at that meaning is a spiraling and inductive process; wherein we check "our" preunderstandings get new understanding (as we study and work at exegesis and bib. theology) (which is why the 'Reformers' referred to the inner and outer clarity of the text --- clear and less clear).

But an important step of hermeneutics, just as important as knowng NT Greek/Hebrew/Aramaic/Akkadian/etc., is doing the theological work (working out the implications of the text [like the Incarnation] and working at stating the unstated assumptions or theology of the NT and OT writers [like the Trinity]). Another very important step is understanding the history of interpretation (since God has given the church teachers for centuries [Eph 4]; and I believe we should recognize the impact they have had upon the shaping of the various interpretive traditions available today [some good, some not]). I think heremeneutics represents a tool box, made up of these many different important tools (I didn't mention the importance of linguistics and philology and literary studies --- as an very important aspect of the herm. tool box).

Anyway, short answer; yes, we do go to Jesus, Paul, Moses et al, it's just that we don't go naked (we bring preunderstandings, which is one of the first things hermeneutics class will teach you --- if you haven't had it yet).

Do you think we bring preunderstandings to the text? And if we do where do you think those "understandings" come from?

Bobby Grow said...


It looks like you were answering my question as I was asking it.

Yes, I'm aware of Robert Thomas' work; and his significance, esp. within The Master's Seminary circle.

I think his point on Kant is a little reductionistic; but I'm sure he probably provides more explanation in the surrounding context (I hope).

I am not denying the objective authorially intended meaning found within the text; or that God is the best communicator (this is the a priori assumption of II Tim 3:16). What I would challenge, relative to Thomas' points, is that the Holy Spirit overrides "our biases," per se. His appeal to the constancy of church doctrine is way overstated (which a quick review of Patristic theology will make clear). Not only that, but if the Holy Spirit overrides our biases why is it that we have Arminians, different kinds of Calvinists, Pentecostals; etc.? All of these "interpretive traditions" fall under the pale of orthodoxy (they all believe faith alone in the Jesus of the Bible is required for salvation); yet they all provide different approaches and come to different conclusions about how to interpret the "same text," for example.

While there is constancy on the essentials; there is derivation on secondary issues. If each group/denomination/tradition (whatever) has the Holy Spirit; then why is it that they come to these different conclusions. According to Thomas' logic, apparently; there is really only one group that has the Holy Spirit, and the rest don't. Since, in his accounting, the Holy Spirit overrides the subjectivity of the interpreters. Or either one is listening to the Holy Spirit and one isn't (but how should we determine that). I think this is where understanding what is informing our preunderstandings is very important; I have no problem with the idea of "ridding" ourselves of errant preunderstandings in order to be open and sensitive to the Holy Spirit in interpretation, I just don't agree the Holy Spirit somehow overrides anything in this process (this is where the "work" of interpretation comes in).

I don't really see how what you're saying only reinforces what I've been saying vs. discounts it.

And you didn't respond to my email back to you about the Trinity and the implications of such things like the homoousion. I can't believe that you would say that these things aren't found in scripture. I can't believe that you would deny, given the occasional nature of the NT, that someone like Paul assumes certain theology when he gives his "Trinitarian" benediction like in II Cor 13:13; and thus as good exegetes and students of the Word we should work at understanding and articulating Paul's theology of God (so biblical theology). You aren't saying that, are you, Mike? You're not denying the reality of systematic theology are you? I wonder what relationship you see between Biblical theology and systematic, if any.

These are important points, Mike. They can't just be swiped away by asserting that you won't believe anything w/o appeal to the text. I am appealing to the text. I haven't been doing exegetical work in this meta (although I did point you to an article I did on some exegetical points on Gal 2:20). Instead I've been focusing on the issue of preunderstandings and thus understandings that inform the way we make our interpretive decisions (which is what my points on Gal 2:20 illustrates, how do we decide if it should be an subjective or objective genetive? Even wallace says that it won't be purely grammatical concerns that decide this).

I think R. Thomas overstates things, but I'll have to read him at some point (some of my profs at Multnomah really did not appreciate Thomas' work at all). Have read Kevin Vanhoozer's "Is There a Meaning in This Text?" It's a good one.

Bobby Grow said...


P.S. If we have different expectations when we come to the text; then we can appeal to the text all we want, Mike, but until our expectations are discussed and made known we will talk past eachother in unfruitful ways all day and night (which is what most of the blogosphere is made up of). I'm hopeful that Evangelical Calvinism will overshadow MacArthurite style Calvinism some day; but probably won't. Be on the lookout for a book I'm apart of by way of editing and authoring which will be coming out soon introducing EC. We're hoping it will make a big impact, and help liberate folks from thinking that Classic Calvinism (more Federal Calvinism than MacArthur or Spurgeon style) is the only viable alternative to what it means to be Reformed. Anyway, be on the lookout.

Don Johnson said...


Are there any Calvinists who want to comment on Acts 11:18 or Galatians 3:26 before we more to our next text showing Faith precedes Regeneration.

donsands said...

"Are there any Calvinists who want to comment on Acts 11:18 or Galatians 3:26 before we more to our next text showing Faith precedes Regeneration." -DJ

You have to take the whole Bible. I can go to James and show you that we are saved by works, and other verses seem to say we can earn salvation.

The whole teaching of the Bible shows that God quickens dead sinners, who otherwise would never believe, nor repent of their rebellion.

You will always disagree with this. And you will throw a verse here and there in people's faces.
I have done the same. It's an arrogant way of trying to win to make yourself feel good.

Like I said before we will never see it the same.

The Reformed view is God quickens a heart, then he believes.

Non-reformed is that a dead sinner believes and then is quickened.

And we will take this to our graves most likely.

Have a blessed Lord's Day.


I agree that being born again, regeneration, is life, only in that it is new life for a dead soul. It's not = to eternal life.

Have a great Lord's Day!

olan strickland said...

Don Johnson,

It is more than evident that you are indeed a troll and that you aren't willing to engage in logical discourse. Your so-called poetic logic is nothing short of pathetic logic.

This is the last time you will get fed by me so you can consider this your last supper; or breakfast :)

@ 1:00PM April 24 I told you, we know that faith precedes justification or to put it Biblically, that a man is justified by faith (Romans 3:28).

No Calvinist that I know believes that justification precedes faith which is what your whole argument hinges upon.

So your Galatians 3:26 passage has nothing to do with proving the Calvinist order of salvation as false. All Calvanists believe that they are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus.

Your Acts 11:18 passage will not serve you as a proof text either. There is the small matter that the repentance necessary was GRANTED and that IT doesn't originate in man.

In your scheme of things Don, you're not even an Arminian. You're a full-fledged Pelagian and an insane one at that - you believe in the preservation of the saints - LOL!

You refuse to deal with what Scripture really says just like you have done with John 6:63. You don't give a Scriptural or logical response to Scriptural and logical reasoning that demonstrates your system to be false.

You still haven't proven Biblically or logically that repentance and faith originate in man and until you CAN you cannot Biblically or logically argue against regeneration preceding repentance and faith because that is precisely what is necessary if repentance and faith are generated.

That repentance and faith are generated in man and does not originate in man is the Biblical record (Romans 10:17; Ephesians 2:8-9; Acts 11:18; 2 Peter 1:1).

Eat up! Kitchen closed!

Sir Brass said...

I'm starting to think, due to his book claims and always dodging answering questions that Don Johnson = Lou Rugg. Problem there is Lou is a Pelagian. Don Johnson is clearly semi-Pelagian.

Still, who else has claimed to write a book refuting James White and Calvinism recently?

I also really tire of people saying how "He never exegeted this fully, blahblahblah."

How else can I say this without unjust accusations?

That claim is a flat-out falsehood. I listened to all the Dividing Lines where the good Doctor of Theology exegeted 1 John 5:1, and answered the presented claims and counter claims coming from the Brian Broderson (sp?) camp. The only way I can see someone making the statement that Dr. White failed to fully exegete the relevant parts of the passage under dispute is when the one making that claim is so blinded by his own tradition that he can't recognize his own blindness.

Don Johnson said...

Don Sands,

I'm all for taking the Bible as a whole. I also believe God quickens dead sinners.

Can you give me a verse that says "God quickens dead sinners, who otherwise would never believe, nor repent of their rebellion."

Also I'm curious what do you thing the Bible means when it says man is dead. You need not answer if you are not inclined.


bp said...

The kitchen's closed but there are a few crumbs still under the table.

In Acts 11:18, when it says that God has granted (to the Gentiles)"repentance that leads to life", that word "life" is from the Greek Zōē (feminine noun), which means "A state of one who is possessed of vitality", or "of the absolute fullness of life."

So simply put, the "life" here that is spoken of is not the act of regeneration, but the result of regeneration. And this passage of Scripture gives no mention at all of where regeneration (or faith for that matter) fall in the order of things.

p.s. thank you Bobby for your prayers.

donsands said...

"And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.
And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules. ...Then you will remember your evil ways, and your deeds that were not good, and you will loathe yourselves for your iniquities and your abominations. It is not for your sake that I will act, declares the Lord God" Ezk. 36

Dead means we have a heart of stone. We are dead to the things of God, and have no hope. And on top of that the god of this world blinds us. We are blind spiritually trying to read.
Can a blind man read?
We are deaf people try to hear? Can a deaf person hear?

When we were dead in sin, dead like Lazarus in the tomb, Jesus spoke to our dead hearts, as He spoke to the dead body of Lazarus to come back to life, and He did, and all sinners whom the Lord calls, shall be rasied from the dead as well.

You will disagree with all this. And that's fine with me.

I think you are in error not to see the simple truth here.

But many follow in your footsteps, because they cannot receive it. Your flesh is in the way of truth and the Spirit.

And yet you are my brother, and I ask our Father to bless you and keep you. Amen.

bp said...

p.s. And Gal 3:26 is the same. Being "sons of God" through faith is the result of regeneration, not the act of regeneration.

Don Johnson said...


I noticed you are a mother. When you gave birth you gave birth to a son or daughter. In the same way when we are born of God (regenerated) we become a son of God.

One cannot be born and then sometime later become a son or daughter. They are a son or daughter the moment they are born.

When we are born of God (Jn. 1:13), quicken (Eph. 2:5), regenerated (Titus 3:5), begat (James 1:18) or born again (1 Peter 1:23) we are the children of God.

bp Gal. 3:26 if said something like "we have faith because we are the children of God." Do you think any of the books of the Calvinist' theologians that I mentioned earlier would have writen about in their books. You know they would.
Does it not even in the least make you wonder why they ALL left out.

Don Johnson said...

Don Sands,

Actually Ezekiel 11 and 36 are texts I'll be using as well. But I have three others before I get to them.

Even though we disagree I want say thank you for being gracious.

Don Johnson said...


No I do not believe justification precedes faith.

You keep mentioning John 6:63. But what is the question about the verse you want me to address. I'm in complete agreement with what the verse states. But I have no idea what you are looking for regarding the verse.

bp said...

Hi Don,
Your analogy isn’t an accurate one, because, (just like with regeneration) you’re confusing and equating "the act” of a baby being born (the process) with “having life”. The act of being born brings about life for a child in the same way that the act of regeneration brings about life for the child of God. The verses you’ve given offer no explanation for the order of these things.

And I believe regeneration produces repentance and faith instantaneously. I certainly wouldn’t promote the notion that regenerate people are walking around who will sometime later repent, believe the gospel and become children of God.

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