So let me put him back on track to the main point yet again, which is this:
If grace is resistible, then we must ask what kind of person would resist it? This question is all the more important given Brennan's strong statement:
The reason we call the grace of God resistible is because it must be actively resisted to not be effectual.So again I ask: What kind of person would reject the grace of God? What kind of person resists the Holy Spirit? Brennan avoids this by changing the question to:
(Bold in original)
Why do some repent and others not?But I'm not asking why some repent and others do not. I'm asking, What kind of person would reject the grace of God?
It's a simple answer (one I gave already). But let us look at some examples of other behavior to draw some conclusions:
Suppose that we came upon an individual who is presented with an option. He can either have a bottle of vodka, or a million dollars with the stipulation that if he takes the money he can never have alcohol again in his life. What kind of man would take the bottle of vodka instead of the money? An alcoholic, that's who.
Suppose that we came upon an individual who is presented with a different option. He can either have a free membership to an internet porn site for the rest of his life, or he can have the same million dollars the alcoholic turned down, provided he never visits a porn website for the rest of his life. What kind of man would take the free membership to the porn site? A porn addict, that's who.
So when we come upon the person who is given the best possible gift whatsoever, the grace of God, and he is given an option to either go with the flow or to actively resist that grace, what kind of man would actively resist that grace? Only the most depraved sinner would rather resist that grace than submit to it.
Here's the problem. Brennan agrees that we are all born depraved. He even goes so far as to say that Christians remain depraved (for some reason I don't think he read Romans 6 when I cited it). So the problem that Brennan must address is why depraved people would ever NOT resist the grace of God.
The simple fact of the matter is that for all of Brennan's confession that he believes in depravity, he has not once actually thought through what that depravity entails. His version of depravity is a strange one indeed.
Now since Brennan believes that only some individuals are saved, then if we stipulate that the grace is the same for all men, we must say that some men are simply more depraved than others. But if we are all depraved to begin with, why couldn't God bring us all to the point where we would not make those depraved decisions—especially since He obviously does do just that for those who do believe? The Christian was once depraved, but reached the point where he chose not to resist God. Why can't God do the same for the sinner who is so depraved that he would actively resist God?
I'll let him chew on that. In any case, since Brennan doesn't believe that the grace of God actually changes people, I will provide a few proof texts for that position, along with how the irresistible grace of regeneration most certainly precedes faith.
First, grace was promised to be effective in the new covenant that Jeremiah mentions. We read:
But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the LORD: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people (Jeremiah 31:33).Note that God is active here, ensuring that His law is on the hearts of His people. Indeed, the next verse shows that this comes from God, not from other people, for: "no longer shall each one teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, 'Know the LORD,' for they shall all know me." God actively writes the law on the hearts of His people, and it is for that reason that they will be His people.
This is echoed in Ezekiel 36:24-27:
I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses, and from all your idols I will cleanse you. 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.Note the emphasized portion. God will cause His people to walk in His statutes.
Furthermore, we see it emphasized in the New Testament. In my previous post, I mentioned how Christ said that by our fruits we evidence what our nature is. Good fruit cannot be produced by bad trees. In addition to that, we also read:
But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed, and, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness (Romans 6:17).Note that this obedience is "from the heart", which is exactly where God promised He would write His law. And the result is that we "become slaves of righteousness" because God does, indeed, "cause [us] to walk in [His] statutes."
Indeed, our entire salvation is caused by God, as Peter says:
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. (1 Peter 1:3-5).God caused us to be born again. Further, we see that this being born of God occurs prior to
Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God (1 John 5:1).Note that the tense of the word "born" is past tense (perfect), which denotes a completed action, contrasting that with the "believes" which is an ongoing present action. Thus, it is not too far of a stretch to suggest the verse implies "Everyone who currently believes that Jesus is the Christ has already been born of God." (More on this in a bit.)
About this second birth John tells us (John 3:5-7):
Jesus answered, "I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, 'You must be born again.'"Further, we read:
He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life (Titus 3:5-7).Paul obviously links the "rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit" to "washing," a reference to John 3's statement that one must be "born of water and the Spirit", which is itself a reference to the previously quoted Ezekiel 36 "I will sprinkle clean water on you" etc.
Thus, the regeneration of the Holy Spirit is a past action that precedes the ongoing present action of faith.
Lest someone think I'm hanging too much of the tenses of 1 John 5:1, consider a few other times the word "born" is used in the perfect tense. Namely:
“If you know that he is righteous, you may be sure that everyone who practices righteousness has been born of him” (1 John 2:29). “No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God's seed abides in him, and he cannot keep on sinning because he has been born of God” (1 John 3:9).Since Brennan is not a Roman Catholic, I can be confident that he would agree that we do not have to cease practicing sin before we can be saved, nor that we must do righteous acts before we can be saved, for that would be to say our salvation is by works. Yet if you look at this construct, it is exactly the same as 1 John 5:1! Namely, "born" is in the perfect tense, and the rest of the actions are present and on-going. 1 John 2:29 has the present practices righteousness; 1 John 3:9 has the present keep on sinning. These are ongoing actions, exactly equivalent to the structure of "believes" in 1 John 5:1. So Brennan should accept that 1 John 5:1 explicitly teaches regeneration precedes faith, or else convert to Roman Catholicism.
A few further passages should suffice. 1 Corinthians 12:3 states "No one can say 'Jesus is Lord' except by the Holy Spirit." Yet this same Paul also wrote: "If you confess with your mouth, 'Jesus is Lord,' and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved" (Romans 10:9). That means that the Holy Spirit must enable one to say "Jesus is Lord" before salvation occurs; yet the Holy Spirit only comes at regeneration. "That which is born of Spirit is spirit."
Indeed, it is impossible for someone to come to God without the Spirit because:
The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned (1 Corinthians 2:14).More could be said, but it is late and I have work in the morning.
"Blessed are those you choose and bring near to live in your courts!" Psalm 65:4