The Calvinist Verses – Part 2

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Here then, we have cause to ask, as Calvinism/Reformed theology raises the issue:

Were they born again, (regenerated) so that they might believe?

After all, Calvinist and Reformed theologians claim the following as true:

5) Calvinists do believe in man’s responsibility, but deny his ability to repent and believe the gospel. The two terms are not synonymous. Calvinists believe that man’s inability to repent and believe are caused by his own sin … not any positive imposition on God’s part.

14) Calvinists do believe that men can resist the Holy Spirit. They believe that even the elect can resist the Holy Spirit, and do – but only up to the time when the Spirit regenerates their heart so that resist Him no more. The non-elect effectively resist Him all their lives.

15) Calvinists do not believe that men are brought kicking and screaming irresistibly to Christ. We believe in irresistible grace. The will is not passed by in salvation. No man ever came to Christ unwillingly, or regretted that he had been brought.

19) Calvinists do believe that regeneration precedes faith in Christ. We do not confuse the term regeneration with that of justification or salvation. The Spirit of God regenerates the elect sinner enabling him to forsake the deadness of his sin and willingly embrace Christ and so be justified by faith and saved for eternity. Regeneration therefore is not synonymous with justification or salvation any more than conviction of sin is synonymous with conversion to Christ.1

By the way, if you find the above points contradictory, you are not alone — they are contradictory to both the Scriptures and logic. There are only two places where the word “regeneration” appears in Scripture. One refers specifically to the new heavens and new earth, and the other is expressly addressing the new birth in salvation and being made righteous — born of the Holy Ghost.

And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. (Matthew 19:28)

But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life. (Titus 3:4-7)

Hence, to arrive at the statement made in point 19 above, where it is stated:

We do not confuse the term regeneration with that of justification or salvation. The Spirit of God regenerates the elect sinner enabling him to forsake the deadness of his sin and willingly embrace Christ and so be justified by faith and saved for eternity. Regeneration therefore is not synonymous with justification or salvation any more than conviction of sin is synonymous with conversion to Christ.2

Is to specifically deny the meaning of the passage in Titus which states:

. . . but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; . . .

Here in Titus it is made quite plain — the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Ghost are synonymous with salvation. The construct of the language and grammar permit no other conclusion. What it states in Titus is that in keeping with the mercy of God, we are saved through the means of the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Ghost. Hence, if one is washed in regeneration and renewed by the Holy Ghost, then one is saved. Here we must also understand that “regeneration”3 and “renewing”4 mean the same thing.

Thus, to hold to the language of point 19 above, one MUST redefine the Scriptural meaning of the word “regeneration” to cause it to be less than salvation. Otherwise, though we might entertain the idea of regeneration before repentance and belief for some brief period, we cannot long hold the position as that doctrine generates a paradox and irresolvable conflict in Scripture. In fact, no statement in Scripture supports that doctrine, and number of statements contradict it:

Even as Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness. (Galatians 3:6)

Since this verse is a quote from Genesis, we would be benefited by looking to see how the original was worded:

And, behold, the word of the LORD came unto him, saying, This shall not be thine heir; but he that shall come forth out of thine own bowels shall be thine heir. And he brought him forth abroad, and said, Look now toward heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them: and he said unto him, So shall thy seed be. And he believed in the LORD; and he counted it to him for righteousness. (Genesis 15:4-6)

Here we see plainly in both the original and the quote that Abraham was counted righteous after he believed. He was not made righteous so he could believe. We find additional Scriptures that specifically support this in numerous places. In the following two passages we see that repentance precedes belief:

For John came unto you in the way of righteousness, and ye believed him not: but the publicans and the harlots believed him: and ye, when ye had seen it, repented not afterward, that ye might believe him. (Matthew 21:32)

Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel. (Mark 1:14-15)

And here we see that believing precedes salvation (or regeneration):

Those by the way side are they that hear; then cometh the devil, and taketh away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved. (Luke 8:12)

And being not weak in faith, he considered not his own body now dead, when he was about an hundred years old, neither yet the deadness of Sara’s womb: He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform. And therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness.
Now it was not written for his sake alone, that it was imputed to him; But for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead; Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification. (Romans 4:19-25)

Thus, under Calvinist/Reformed doctrine the following passage becomes extremely problematic:

But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance. (Matthew 9:13, See also Mark 2:17, Luke 5:32)

Here, by the direct statement of the Lord Jesus Christ, we find that the call to repentance is for sinners ONLY, not for any of the righteous. Thus, if you are made righteous (born-again/regenerated) so you CAN believe, then you are righteous WITHOUT believing (even for an instant, as you would be since time doesn’t stand still), and thus you now fall OUTSIDE the scope of the call of the Lord Jesus Christ as you now have NO NEED of repentance, NO NEED of belief – you are righteous WITHOUT REPENTANCE OR BELIEF. This leads to the following questions for the adherent of Calvinist/Reformed theology:

  1. If one is regenerated/born again, what is the point of bothering with faith, repentance and belief then?
  2. Why doesn’t God just “make everybody believe” and have done with it?
  3. What is the point of picking and choosing to send some to Heaven and some to Hell?
  4. Does God play games?

Are there valid answers to those questions in Calvinist/Reformed theology? Not likely, as they like to claim the following:

25) There is a difference between a paradox and a contradiction. We know that God is sovereign, yet man is free to follow the dictates of his own will. Where the two lines meet is not for us to say. Calvinist ignorance on the matter is to be excused on the basis of Deuteronomy 29:29

Never mind that “where the lines meet” is explained rather well in John 1:12-13, where it is explained that it is man’s responsibility to exercise the faith granted, as it is also man’s responsibility to exercise repentance and belief. It is the LORD’s responsibility to create a new creature in Christ Jesus when one believes. We see these things in order when it states:

But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. (John 1:12-13)

In continuing the examination of the passage which Aaron claimed supported “unconditional, sovereign election” we find that there are actually conditions placed on the election addressed in verse 13 by the phrases in verse 12. There are three phrases in verse 12, which is the superior clause, that set forth specific conditions for one to be “born of God”:

  • But as many as received him, (faith)
  • to them gave he power to become the sons of God, (repentance)
  • even to them that believe on his name: (belief)

To be continued . . .


  1. http://www.oldtruth.com/calvinism/avoidingconfusion.html
  2. Ibid
  3. 3824 paliggenesia {pal-ing-ghen-es-ee’-ah} from 3825 and 1078; TDNT – 1:686,117;
    n f AV – regeneration 2; 2 GK – 4098 { παλιγγενεσία } & 4100 { παλινγενεσία }
    1) new birth, reproduction, renewal, recreation, regeneration
    1a) hence renovation, regeneration, the production of a new life consecrated to God, a radical change of mind for the better. The word often used to denote the restoration of a thing to its pristine state, its renovation, as a renewal or restoration of life after death
    1b) the renovation of the earth after the deluge
    1c) the renewal of the world to take place after its destruction by fire, as the Stoics taught
    1d) the signal and glorious change of all things (in heaven and earth) for the better, that restoration of the primal and perfect condition of things which existed before the fall of our first parents, which the Jews looked for in connection with the advent of the Messiah, and which Christians expected in connection with the visible return of Jesus from heaven.
    1e) other uses
    1e1) of Cicero’s restoration to rank and fortune on his recall from exile
    1e2) of the restoration of the Jewish nation after exile
    1e3) of the recovery of knowledge by recollection

    Strong, James. The Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible : Showing Every Word of the Test of the Common English Version of the Canonical Books, and Every Occurence of Each Word in Regular Order. Ontario: Woodside Bible Fellowship.

  4. 342 anakainosis {an-ak-ah’-ee-no-sis} from 341; TDNT – 3:453,388;
    n f AV – renewing 2; 2 GK – 364 { ἀνακαίνωσις }
    1) a renewal, renovation, complete change for the better

    Strong, James. The Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible : Showing Every Word of the Test of the Common English Version of the Canonical Books, and Every Occurence of Each Word in Regular Order. Ontario: Woodside Bible Fellowship.

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2 Responses to “The Calvinist Verses – Part 2”

  • Aaron says:

    I do not like to label my self as an Calvinist because John Calvin did not invent the doctrine of sovereign grace/election. Any denomination or theology labeling comes from man, not God. I believe in the doctrine of sovereign grace/election because God inspired the Apostle Paul, Peter, James, and John to write it in the Bible.

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    1. Aaron Says:

      I do not believe man is regenerated first then repent and believe, but I respect those that do and can see why they believe that.  I believe repentance and faith happen at the same time, with regeneration a split second after or even happening at the same time as repentance and faith. Repentance and Faith are granted to us sovereignly by God(Acts 5:31, Acts 11:18; Philippians 1:29; John 6:44;65) to believe on His Son. They do not originate from us.

    2. Aaron Says:

      I do not like to label my self as an Calvinist because John Calvin did not invent the doctrine of sovereign grace/election. Any denomination or theology labeling comes from man, not God. I believe in the doctrine of sovereign grace/election because God inspired the Apostle Paul, Peter, James, and John to write it in the Bible.

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