Thursday, February 16, 2006

Comments Comments Comments

Apparently, my article on the Protestant Denial of Sola Gratia didn't set well with Antonio and some of his cadre.

One of them Jodie didn't bother to read the article, but she accuses me, Steve, and Evan of inventing straw men. Hmm, but Jodie, you said you didn't read the whole article, and at the end of your comments you said you don't come here often, so we have to wonder if you're actually reading them.


This suggests Triablogue's strategy: a sort of make-believe heresy-invention. You say:

GB: These folks don't want to be Campellites. (God forbid they believe baptismal regeneration), but they want to be sure they have a regenerate church membership, so they turn the sinner's
prayer into a sacramental prayer that functions in the same way.

Actually, I am drawing on pastoral experience here. Charles Stanley does this. Johnny Hunt does this. Herb Reavis does this. Jack Graham does this. Danny O'Guinn does this. Adrian Rogers did this. Almost every IFBx pastor that is not a Calvinist whom I know has done this. So, for all your bluster, Jodie, you haven't addressed a single issue.

I also embarked on a little survey awhile back on the tracts used by local churches in my area that teach this doctrine.

Let's take an excerpt from a popular tract from your side of the aisle:

Seven Steps to the Kingdom (English Version)

1. GREETING: (Get a verbal contract). "Hello, May I have one minute of your time?"

2. STATE: "Did you know that Jesus Christ is Lord ---Well,He is and He loves you and wants to be your Lord and Savior.

3. SAY: Romans 10:9 says: "If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God raised Jesus from the dead, you shall be saved". Do you believe that?

4. ASK: "Can you say Lord Jesus?" (This step bring in the presence of the Holy Spirit).

5. PRAY: (Reach out for the candidate's hand and say)

Let's pray; repeat after me:" Lord Jesus, forgive me for all my sins. I repent from my ways.
Wash me in your blood and cleanse me from all unrighteousness. I believe that you died on the cross, were buried, and on the third day God the Father raised you from the dead. Right now, Lord Jesus, I open the door to my HEART and I receive you, into my HEART, as my Lord and Personal Savior".

6. QUESTION: (Say to the candidate) " According to the prayer you just prayed, where is the Lord Jesus now?" The response should be "He's in my heart". - If some other statement is given, repeat Steps.

(When the candidate gives the correct answer, share with them) "I John 4:4: Greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world." Leave them with a tract and an Order of Service Card. Then ask for their address and telephone number: "May we take your name, address and telephone number so that we can call you to follow-up with you and pray with you?" Thank you, and remember: JESUS

Let's not forget the 4 Spiritual Laws

"Lord Jesus, I need You. Thank You for dying on the cross for my sins.I open the door of my life and receive You as my Savior and Lord. Thank You for forgiving my sins and giving me eternal life. Take control of the throne of my life. Make me the kind of person You want me to be."
In my article I mentioned the havoc this theology has wrought in SBC churches. So did Jim Eliff in his article.

Have you looked at the ACP's for these churches that practice this theology in the SBC.?

Let's look at a couple:

2001 2002
27905 members 28325 members
21555 resident members 21686 resident members
982 baptisms 801 baptisms
683 other additions 720 other additions
9035 primary worship attendance 9186 primary worship attendance

2003 2004
28837 members 29349 members
21987 resident members 22189 resident members
774 baptisms 774 baptisms
652 other additions 667 other additions
8828 primary worship attendance 9168 primary worship attendance

In 4 years, according to the ACP, this church baptized 3331 people and had 2720 other additions. This means that 6051 people joined the church from 2001-2004. Yet, the primary worship attendance in 2001 was 9035 and in 2004 was 9168 or a total increase of 133. The resident membership increased from 21555 in 2001 to 22189 in 2004, a total of 634.

Or how about this one from the am SBC pastor who spouts this theology from his pulpit and accuses Calvinists in the Convention of being anti-evangelistic:

2001 2002
3506 members 3812 members
203 baptisms 296 baptisms
253 other additions 190 other additions
2200 primary worship attendance 2100 primary worship attendance

2003 2004
4011 members 4163 members
209 baptisms 237 baptisms
137 other additions 204 other additions
2031 primary worship attendance 1874 primary worship attendance

It went from a counted Sunday morning worship attendance of 2200 in 2001 to 1874 in 2004. That is a 15% decline.

Granted, they have baptized 945 people during that 4 year period and they have added 784 people by other means. But the church membership only grew by 657. It took 1729 new members for the church to grow by 657 members.

In addition those 1729 new members resulted in 326 fewer worshipers.

Johnny Hunt's church gets about 40 percent of the "resident members" to church on Sunday morning. He *also* preaches your theology, yet he wants to be SBC President.

Jeremy Myers warns:

But one thing was confirmed in my own mind. The“sinner’s prayer” is a dangerous witnessing tool. It can leave many people thinking that they are going to heaven because they have “prayed a prayer” yet never understood that eternal life is received by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone.
I'll not quote the rest of the authors but I did some checking, and learned that this was posted as a pastoral response. Why is this such a common problem in Free Grace churches if this is not what is being heard by the congregants? Myers, Wempe, Chimpe, and the rest all are having to do this precisely because the sinner's prayer is used as a sacramental prayer in the churches affirming this theology and this is a common problem they face. What is so unclear about this?
I am not downing the use of the prayer. I am speaking to it's continued use. If this isn't what your theology teaches, then why is it such a problem in your churches? The answer, of course, is "decisional regeneration." The difference between the use of it in a program like Evangelism Explosion and in one of these churches is that EE's authors would say it is a valid way to express what God has already done if you choose to do so. In decisional regeneration, this encapsulates the decision and regeneration comes as an exercise of the faith underwriting the prayer. As such, it is *still* a sacramental prayer.

You deny your sacramentalization of the sinner’s prayer because you and they know that to make the sinner’s prayer the basis of assurance, it would represent an outward expression of faith and would then contradict their theology (that there need not be an outward expression of faith). However, when it plays out on a practical basis, they look upon the salvation of others through the lens of this expression in the Sinner’s Prayer, when they “walked the aisle,” etc. Their theology is hopeful, but their practice betrays them.
All your quotes show is that there is a pastoral concern in the Free Grace community that is shared with mine. It does nothing however to address what I actually wrote which was that the ongoing use of the sinner's prayer has turned it into a de facto sacrament that has contributed to a type of Neo-Campbellite ecclesiology among Baptists. A handful of authors discussing this same issue proves my point for me, for they wouldn't have to say such things if this wasn't happening, which is exactly my thesis.

It is the Free Grace Theology that bloats the membership rolls.

It is the Free Grace Theology that results in churches with 29,000 members but only 9000 or less show up on any given Sunday morning, 1/3 of which are visitors.

It is the Free Grace Theology that gives us Pastor's Conferences that are full of men who pat themselves proudly on the back for their inflated numbers without regard to the church members they actually cultivate and then get snippy when you bring up that issue.

It's Free Grace Theology that gives us an SBC President that spends 2 years touring the nation promoting a baptismal program we affectionately call "The Million Man Dunk."
The real issue here is what "faith" means to you people and what it means in Scripture are not always the same. Your defintion is Sandemanian as we shall see below.

F/G theology doesn't make the sinner's prayer or any other human convention into a sacrament. F/G proclaims that believing in Christ as the sole provider of eternal life results in the bestowal of eternal life, and therefore salvation from eternal damnation at the Great White Throne Judgment:

Oh really? I beg to differ. The very authors you cite are synergists are they not? The affirm regeneration is the result of faith, do they not? Ergo, the decision a person makes is the sacrament, whether its the prayer or their decision or the altar call or the invitation system. It's called "decisional regeneration." When you couple that with Sandemanian "faith" you get Campbellite ecclesiology. Campbell was a Sandemanian. Maybe that's why you like him so much. I remind you that Dr. E. M. Caner self-destructed at the Founders blog earlier today and mentioned the invitation system...yet *another* example of the problem, for *he too* espouses your theology. Why the constant drum-beating over the invitation system if it hasn't come to function as a kind of sacrament?

Now, let's consider this from Bob Wilkin. We see that, by his own admission, what we are saying to you about what F/G theology asserts is true (that it reduces to antinomianism, allows for true apostasy, and makes sanctification optional):

Free Grace #1: Antinomianism
Holds to the four essential Free Grace views. Believes that perseverance is not guaranteed; apostasy is possible for the true believer; and that the believer is not under any set of rules or laws today.

Free Grace #2: Basic Free Grace
Holds to the four essential Free Grace views. Believes that perseverance is not guaranteed (however, many if not most in this view hold that all believers will produce at least some good works sometime somewhere, even though those works may not be evident to others or even themselves); and that apostasy is possible for the true believer. Unlike the above group, the basic Free Grace position holds that believers are under rules and laws today. This group tends to have a strong view of accountability and the believer's future judgment.

Free Grace #3: More Reformed Free Grace
Holds to the four essential Free Grace views. Believes that perseverance is guaranteed (with a strong view of perseverance which excludes the possibility of carnality lasting for a very long time and which asserts that all believers will produce good works which are clearly observable to themselves and others), and that apostasy is not possible for the true believer.

In Baptist ecclesiology, if you hold to number 1 or 2 and you make baptism the door for church membership, all you've done is conflate a credible profession of faith and saving profession of faith, and this becomes your new sacrament. It is *still* Campbellite ecclesiology. It's still decisional regeneration.

If he does believe, a prayer is unnecessary. If he doesn't, a prayer will be confusing since I may direct him to say things he can't yet understand or believe, because God has not yet opened his heart.

Yet Zane Hodges, whom you quoted, denies monergistic regeneration, so all this statement does is highlight his inconsistency. He calls this theology Free Grace, but then conditions the New Birth on an "ACT of punctiliar faith". This is simply another form of legalism, no matter how much they protest otherwise. The "act" is indeed a work rewarded by regeneration.

We don't believe that making a 'commitment ' to Christ is even close being a proper response to the biblical offer of eternal life.
1. The biblical offer is to justification. The new birth in John 3 is not an imperative. Jesus is not commanding Nicodemus to be born again to have eternal life. Jesus is affirming a fact. That fact is monergistic regeneration.

See Zane Hodges' defintion of saving faith. It is "Belief Jesus is the Christ." It excludes repentance from sin by his own admission. It need not result in sanctification, by his own admission. I am saying nothing Hodges has not said already.
You are very correct; "committing" to Christ is not a proper response to confrontation with the gospel in the F/G view. There is no commitment at all. It's believing a set of facts about Christ. This is what he says;
"What we normally mean by faith is that we have a persuasion or a conviction, or we have an assurance about something or about someone... So the word 'faith' ought to be self-defining. Lordship theology redefines faith. Lordship theology imports into the basic and natural idea of faith things which ought not and do not belong in that concept. For example, in Lordship Theology, surrender, commitment, sometimes even repentance, is included within the concept of saving faith. So faith becomes more than simple trust, or more than simple persuasion about the truth of something."
Of course the problem is that it is Hodges who has redefined saving faith and reduced it to assesus. I'll not rehash that with you again, since others have done this for you repeatedly.

And what does "trust in Christ mean?" According to Bob Wilkin :

First, the sole condition of eternal life is trusting in Christ as one's Savior. None of the following are conditions of eternal life: turning from sins, being willing to turn from sins, committing one's life to Christ, baptism, doing good works, or persevering in the faith.

Yet, Scripture says that those who persevere to the end are the ones who will be saved. Repentance is
never seen as optional. Obeying Christ's commands is likewise never seen as optional. A truly regenerate person will desire to believe and obey.

But Jesus said: John 15:16 "You did not choose Me but I chose you, and appointed you that you would go and bear fruit, and that your fruit would remain, so that whatever you ask of he Father in My name He may give to you."

Here's what Bob Wilkin says about dealing with false professors:

In attempting to determine whether one is a true or false professor I do not:

1) consider the quality of his works,

2) try and figure out how grieved he is when he sins, or

3) attempt to discern how much he desires to have an intimate relationship with God. Those are three commonly suggested tests (see, for example, Dr. Darrell Bock, Bibliotheca Sacra [Jan-Mar 89]:
pp.31-32). The problem with such tests is threefold. First, some unbelievers may appear to do well on all three counts. Indeed they may be fervently trying to be good and may be living a very moral life. Second, some believers may do poorly on one or more of these tests. King David would have failed the test during the first year after his fall. Many of the believers in Corinth would have failed
these tests (cf. 1 Cor. 3:1-3; 6:1-20; 11:30). Third and most importantly, the Scriptures do not give such tests.

Rather, I feel there is one test we can utilize. Since belief is an understanding and acceptance of the Gospel, a false professor is one who claims to believe yet who either does not understand
or does not accept the gospel. Therefore, I talk to people about the gospel. I ask them questions. Do they believe in eternal security? Are they sure they have eternal life? Why should God let them into heaven? How would they share the gospel with someone else? If they indicate that they are sinners who are
eternally secure by grace because Jesus died and paid the penalty for all of their sins, I conclude that they are saved. If not, I am unsure as to whether they are a confused believer or whether they never were saved in the first place. In any case I then attempt to make sure that they now understand the
gospel and accept it.

And there we have it, Ladies and Gents. According to Bob Wilkin to determine who is a false professor, we ascertain what believe about a set of facts about Jesus and about giving the right answers on the doctrine test. He agrees they lie, but this just shows they are giving answers and not believing them, so as long as they really, really, really believe these facts they're saved.

Now, there is a grain of truth here. 1 John 5:1 is both an affirmation of monergistic regeneration and a test by which we know we are regenerate. However it is not the only test in 1 John, and that's the problem. Dr. Wilkin's takes one test and amplies it to the exclusion of the others. That is what we deny here. There are very clear ethical tests in Scripture. Indeed the removal of assurance because of backsliding is a salutary method by which God keeps us from apostatizing and disciplines us.

How far this is from Charles Ryrie:
"Having said that, some caveats are in order. One, this does not mean that a believer will always be fruitful ... Two, this does not mean that a certain person's fruit will necessarily be outwardly evident ... Three, my understanding of what fruit is and therefore what I expect others to bear may be faulty and/or incomplete. ... Nevertheless, every Christian will bear fruit; otherwise he or
she is not a true believer"
--And that is why my friends out West who graduated from DTS cannot believe their ears when they hear Bob Wilkin and Zane Hodges make such absurd, anti-biblical statements about their pastoral practices much less their theology.

Zane Hodges...
But then what is it? Many of the contemporary evangelical answers are filled with confusion and permeated by error. When faith ceases to be merely taking God’s Word for things, it becomes something mysterious, imprecise, vague, and numinous. It can then be said to include such unrelated
concepts as repentance, surrender, willingness to obey, devotion, a worshipful spirit, etc.....

The one who believes that Jesus is the Christ possesses divine, unending life.

No one can believe this message without being saved (1 John 5:1). And no one can believe this message without being sure that he is saved! The message, in fact, is God’s true, reliable, and unchanging
"witness" to us.

Having done this, we try hard to turn faith into something "productive" and "effective." Faith, we decide, cannot be merely "receiving the witness of God." It cannot be, we tell ourselves, merely
"standing on the promises" of His Word. Surely it is not, we think, simply "resting" in who Jesus is and in what He guarantees.
This contradicts James 2. Evan has dealt with this repeatedly.

John Calvin dealt with this also. Note what you folks leave out when you bring up Calvin, and as I recall, Antonio was parrotting the F/G apolgetes' objection that seeks to pit John Calvin v. the WCF a few weeks ago :

Calvin is concerned to distinguish the foundation from the evidence of assurance. He writes against Rome that declared that faith alone was false and assurance impossible. Ergo, he writes of the foundation of faith and assurance as a result in due time and with due grounds.

The grounds: the Word, the sacraments, the Spirit's testimony. And what else does Calvin say...the part that those in the Free Grace Movement (or with sympathies) ignore:

No man is a believer, I say, except him who, leaning upon the assurance of his salvation, confidently triumphs over the devil and death...Inst., 3.2.16.

What then is the relationship between faith, its grounds, and this last statement? Quite simply: genuine saving faith grows and matures. If it does not grow and mature, the individual has impetus to doubt, and, I would argue this is precisely the impetus of Scripture in the matter, for, in Scripture assurance comes with growth and maturity.

From The Institutes:
Christ cannot be known without the sanctification of his Spirit: therefore faith cannot possibly be disjoined from pious affection." (p. 476)

"Their whole error lies in this, that while the term faith has a variety of meanings, overlooking this variety, they argue as if its meaning were invariably one and the same." (p. 477)

"The human heart has so many recesses for vanity, so many lurking places for falsehood, is so shrouded by fraud and hypocrisy, that it often deceives itself. Let those who glory in such semblances of faith know that, in this respect, they are not a whit superior to devils." (p. 478)

"Meanwhile, believers are taught to examine themselves carefully and humbly, lest carnal security creep in and take the place of assurance of faith."
(p. 478)

Assurance, therefore, has an objective basis: Christ via faith and faith via the Word and the means of grace and spiritual growth. Remember, Scripture contains instructions for taking the Lord's Supper with a clear conscience, etc. Partaking of the means of grace, therefore, is a mean to maturity, etc. So it all flows together.

It is quite obvious that you really do not understand the theology that you argue against. This has been a post of extreme blather and straw men.

Notice there is nothing here that Antonio actually names as a "straw man."

You mischaracterize, and flat out misrepresent free grace every time your hands type a sentence. It is quite disturbing indeed.
Like you have with Reformed theology each and every time you set yourself to it? Pot meet kettle.

It may indeed be beneficial for yourself and your readers to actually familiarize yourself with the TRUE doctrines of grace (Free Grace Theology)before you again are faulted for such deep and careless caricatures.

Try reading about Free Grace theology from its advocates rather than from its detractors, should be step number one.

You, Steve, and Evan are a couple of peas in a pod. Very little substance in your arguments against that which you do not understand.

A remedial course in research tools and principles may be in order.
Of course, Antonio, you have not engaged Steve or Evan on these issues. Neither is he in a position to know what I have or have not read on the subject. You bowed out of a discussion with Centurion after what 3 questions? You're the one that has stated that those who came to Christ and believing Reformed soteriological constructions are not regenerate. With every passing post you self-destruct further and further.

"Belief that Jesus is the Christ" is saving faith according to Hodges. This is assensus to noticia, not fiducia. This is a REDEFINITION of fiducia. Hodge is saying "trust in assensus" not "trust in Christ."

What is so unclear about that Antonio?
This also answers Rose who writes in response to my statement that this "saving faith" is believing some facts about Christ

: No. That is so sterile. I think you know that this sterility is not at the heart of those soteriologies that fall in the camp outside your own.

Well, there you have it Rose. "Belief that Jesus is the Christ." without repentance from sin. This is not the definition of saving faith. Bob Wilkin is on record as dealing with assurance issues pastorally by asking people what they believe about Jesus. Evan and Steve have written at length on this, so I'll not repeat it for you, again, accept to say that Reformed theology is not an either/or theology. Assurance is grounded both in the promise of God (faith is its own assurance) and a changed life. 2 of the 3 tests for regeneracy in 1 John are ethical. We have said nothing Scripture does not say.

I am not a Gnostic. I don't think we should feed the flesh. What an insult to
call me that.

Rose apparently cannot follow an argument well. Rose, Gnostics were dualists. A "new/good" nature and an "old/evil" nature in one person is dualism. It recycles the mind/body; spirit/flesh dualism of the Gnostics. Gnostics were either antinomian or legalistic, take your pick. The carnal Christian theory results in either as well. The carnal Christian theory recapitulates Gnostic dualism.


More incompetence from Antonio:

The idea that one may believe in Him and live for years totally unaffected by the amazing miracle of regeneration, or by the instruction and/or discipline of God his heavenly Father, is a fantastic notion—even bizarre. We reject it categorically."

Yet the end of the article to which Antonio linked we find this:

It can then be said to include such unrelated concepts as repentance, surrender, willingness to obey, devotion, a worshipful spirit, etc.—the list goes on and on,

and in Bob Wilkin's own writing we find that he says that 2 of the 3 views on this issue in the F/G community include the view that true believers can apostatize. At most, what we have in the Free Grace community is an ongoing discussion about this very thing; and since #3 is rarely if ever communicated, we have to wonder if 1 and 2 are the dominant positions.

Charles Ryrie is famous for his distinctions over repentance:

Second, there is a repentance that is unto eternal salvation. What kind of repentance saves? Not a sorrow for sins or even a sorrow that results in a cleaning up of one's life. People who reform have repented; that is, they have changed their minds about their past lives, but that kind of repentance, albeit genuine, does not of itself save them. The only kind of repentance that saves is a change of mind about Jesus Christ. People can weep; people can resolve to turnfrom their past sins; but those things in themselves cannot save. The only kind of repentance that saves anyone, anywhere, anytime is a change of mind about Jesus Christ. The sense of sin and sorrow because of sin may stir up a person's
mind or conscience so that he or she realizes the need for a Savior, but if there is not change of mind about Jesus Christ there will be no salvation (So Great Salvation p. 94)

We agree, repentance does involve repenting from a wrong idea about Christ, but it is also repenting from sin. Almost every Bible mention of repentance unto salvation is in the context of repentance from sin. Now, Ryrie does says that repentance from sin is important. But to say that it is not essential to salvation is to say that Christ died for nothing more than recognition of his office as Savior. It appears that Hodges and Wilkin and their disciples, Antonio and Jodie did not fall far from the poison tree.

I have a book to write, so I will leave it to the able hands of Steve, Evan, Paul, and perhaps Alan to deal with the comments this will no doubt incur.


Naked faith is no faith.
- Thomas Adams

The course of thy life will speak more for thee than the discourse of thy lips.
- George Swinnock

...God, who 'will render to each one according to his deeds': eternal life to those who by patient continuance in doing good seek for glory, honor, and immortality; but to those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness - indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish, on every soul of man who does evil...
- Romans 2:5b-9a

Faith justifies the person, and works justify his faith.
- Elisha Coles

As the apple is not the cause of the apple tree, but a fruit of it: even so good works are not the cause of our salvation, but a sign and a fruit of the same.
- Daniel Cawdray

Good deeds are such things that no man is saved for them, nor without them.
- Thomas Adams

The saints of God are sealed inwardly with faith, but outwardly with good works.
- John Boys

Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.
- James 2:17

God loves adverbs better than nouns; not praying only but praying well; not doing good but doing it well.
- Thomas Brooks

The object matter of all religion is reduced to credenda and agenda (Respectively, "things to be believed," and "things to be done." - ed.).
- Thomas Goodwin

Faith is full of good works. It believes as if it did not work, and it works as if it did not believe.
- Thomas Watson

Little children, let no one deceive you. He who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous. He who sins is of the devil...
- 1 John 3:7-8a

We must first be made good before we can do good; we must first be made just before our works can please God.
- Hugh Latimer

We are too apt to rest in a bare profession of faith, and to think that this will save us; it is a cheap and easy religion to say, `We believe the articles of the Christian faith;' but it is a great delusion to imagine that this is enough to bring us to heaven.
- Matthew Henry

Says one, 'Do you find fault with good works?' Not at all. Suppose I see a man building a house, and he were fool enough to lay the foundation with chimney pots. If I should say, 'I do not like these chimney pots to be put into the foundation,' you would not say I found fault with the chimney pots, but with the man for putting them in the wrong place. So with good works and ceremonies. They will not do for a foundation.
- Charles Spurgeon

Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor catamites, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.
- 1 Corinthians 6:9-11

On the contrary, where zeal for integrity and holiness is not vigor, there neither is the Spirit of Christ nor Christ Himself; and wherever Christ is not, there is no righteousness, nay, there is no faith; for faith cannot apprehend Christ for righteousness without the Spirit of sanctification.
- John Calvin

Another proof of the conquest of a soul for Christ will be found in a real change of life. If the man does not live differently from what he did before, both at home and abroad, his repentance needs to be repented of, and his conversion is a fiction.
- Charles Spurgeon

Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, licentiousness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.
- Galatians 5:19-21

When we have thus taught faith in Christ, then do we teach also good works. Because thou hast laid hold upon Christ by faith, through whom thou art made righteous, begin now to work well. Love God and thy neighbor, call upon God, give thanks unto him, praise him, confess him. Do good to thy neighbor and serve him; fulfill thine office. These are good works indeed, which flow out of this faith.
- Martin Luther

We believe that this true faith, being wrought in man by the hearing of the Word of God and the operation of the Holy Ghost, doth regenerate and make him a new man, causing him to live a new life, and freeing him from the bondage of sin. Therefore it is so far from being true, that this justifying faith makes men remiss in a pious and holy life, that on the contrary without it they would never do any thing out of love to God, but only out of self-love or fear of damnation. Therefore it is impossible that this holy faith can be unfruitful in man.
- The Belgic Confession

And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!'
- Matthew 7:23

To be ‘born of God’ is to be the subject of an inward change of heart, so complete, that it is like passing into a new existence. It is the introduction into the human soul of a seed from heaven, a new principle, a Divine nature, a new will. Certainly it is no outward bodily alteration; but it is no less certain that it is an entire alteration of the inward man. It adds no new faculties to our minds; but it gives an entirely new bent and bias to our old ones. The tastes and opinions of one ‘born again,’ his views of sin, of the world, of the Bible, of God, and of Christ, are so thoroughly new, that he is to all intents and purposes what St. Paul calls a new creature. In fact, as the Church Catechism truly says, it is ‘a death unto sin and a new birth unto righteousness (J.C. Ryle, The Upper Room (Edinburgh: Banner, 1977), p. 137).


  1. Very thorough Gene. These modern day non-transformative grace advocates are members of a different religion all together in my personal opinion (something I indicated to Bob Wilkin in personal correspondence). There is very little connection between their own theology and either historic or biblical Christianity.

  2. Rose apparently cannot follow an argument well.

    You are full of insults.
    der says:
    There is very little connection between their own theology and either historic or biblical Christianity.

    That is a bizarre statement.

    *walks away shaking head*

  3. Gnostics were dualists. A "new/good" nature and an "old/evil" nature in one person is dualism.

    I have never talked to a gnostic, Gene, but I have read Paul and it was from him that I got my thoughts on the matter.

    That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; And be renewed in the spirit of your mind;
    And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness. (Eph 4:22-24)

    I think you should be nicer to people who read your posts. You don't make a person feel very welcome here with your insults.

  4. Gene, I thought you were plenty nice in this post.