October 8, 2006

Impossible Decision: John 16:7-11

From a September 29 post on Pulpit Magazine Dr. MacArthur wrote:

We must remember above all that salvation is a sovereign work of God…. As a part of His saving work, God will produce repentance, faith, sanctification, yieldedness, obedience, and ultimately glorification. Since He is not dependent on human effort in producing these elements, an experience that lacks any of them cannot be the saving work of God.”
In The Gospel According to Jesus Dr. MacArthur wrote:
Thus conversion is not simply a sinner's decision for Christ; it is first the sovereign work of God in transforming the individual.” (The Gospel According to Jesus [Revised & Expanded Edition], p. 114.)
Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you. And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: Of sin, because they believe not on me; Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more; Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged,” (John 16:9-10).
The Holy Spirit is come to convict the world of “sin” (note singular). What is the “sin” that the Holy Spirit will reprove the world over? That “sin” is explained in verse 10, which is the sin of “unbelief.” The lost man needs to be confronted with the Law to bring him/her to know the need for forgiveness through Christ. The book of Galatians is very helpful in this matter. The sin that is damning the lost man to hell is “unbelief” and the only act that will result in salvation is “belief” (John 3:16; Acts 16:31).

Lordship Salvation adds a commitment to discipleship (i.e. “take up your cross, losing your life for my sake, etc.”) which requires a decision from a lost man, which is impossible for him to make. (John 15:5). This kind of gospel message, which Dr. MacArthur advocates, frustrates grace (Gal. 2:21). The Holy Spirit does not yet indwell this lost man, he is not regenerated. He cannot make a decision of surrender to the Lord because he does not yet know the Lord.

Thus reformed theologians, like John MacArthur demonstrates above, must come to an extra-biblical, a rational view of the order of salvation: regeneration before profession of faith rather than simultaneous to it. After repenting of the sin of “unbelief” the newborn child of God enters into the life of sanctification and begins to repent of his “SINS” (1 John 1, etc.).


LM

7 comments:

  1. The 'regeneration before faith' doctrine makes a mockery of the New Testament.

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  2. Oh, really?

    Must be due to that NIV (non-inspired version) Bible I was reading...

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  3. Good to see you out there.

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  4. Doesn't Bible repentance also mean a turning to God and a "change of mind" toward God that results in a "change of life"? I believe that repentance is a supernatural work of God which convicts the sinner of his rebellion, who then "turns to God from sin". (1 Thess. 1:9) I don't understand this "unbelief". I've seen so many "professing" Christians sitting in churches with a "false assurance" of salvation because they said some "sinner's prayer" years before.

    I'm not a Calvinist--I don't believe that regeneration precedes salvation. Regeneration happens at the moment a sinner is born again, when he trusts in the finished work of Christ on the cross of Calvary. I don't believe in Lordship Salvation, but I do believe that salvation will result in a change of life. Also, I do not believe, as John MacArthur teaches, that the believer has only one nature, not two. For that strange teaching, check out the Middletown Bible Church website.

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  5. Linda:

    Thanks for the comment.

    I link to Zeller’s site because his research and documentation of the various doctrinal errors coming from MacArthur, Hodges, Wilkin and others is penetrating.

    You wrote, “Doesn't Bible repentance also mean a turning to God and a ‘change of mind’ toward God that results in a ‘change of life’?”

    Repentance is one of the most misunderstood doctrines in the Bible and is the crux of debate in the LS controversy. Men in the FG camp differ on their definition of repentance. Hodges and the “Crossless” advocates have, of course, badly erred on this doctrine, as they do so many others.

    Repentance is a change of mind, some say change of heart. IMO, genuine repentance should result in a changed life. I emphasize should because I don’t think it a good idea to begin measuring what has been done I the heart by what is done on the outside. Different people grow and evidence growth in different ways and over different periods of time. Then, of course, you have carnality and back sliding to deal with.

    That said, if a professing Christian never showed any genuine evidence of a genuine conversion I would have questions about whether or not there was a genuine conversion.

    You wrote, “I’m not a Calvinist--I don’t believe that regeneration precedes salvation. Regeneration happens at the moment a sinner is born again, when he trusts in the finished work of Christ on the cross of Calvary.”

    Good note there. Zeller is excellent on this as well.

    Please read my article, Lordship’s Out of Order Salvation


    LM

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  6. Hi Lou:

    You will remember me from the Baptist Board forum--I'm Linda64 and I've been following your posts there. Your articles are excellent.

    You wrote: "Repentance is a change of mind, some say change of heart. IMO, genuine repentance should result in a changed life. I emphasize should because I don’t think it a good idea to begin measuring what has been done I the heart by what is done on the outside. Different people grow and evidence growth in different ways and over different periods of time. Then, of course, you have carnality and back sliding to deal with.

    That said, if a professing Christian never showed any genuine evidence of a genuine conversion I would have questions about whether or not there was a genuine conversion."

    It's the last statement you made here is what I am talking about. I experienced that personally in my own life--my late husband made a profession of faith but continued living in sin until he drank himself to death in October, 2000. I understand that Christians grow spiritually in different ways and that carnality does exist in the life of a believer---but it's the "professing" believer who NEVER shows ANY fruit of a changed life (which Bible repentance should produce) of whom I speak. There are some who teach (like Hodges & Wilkin) that one can be saved (born again) and show no fruit of repentance or even flat out deny Christ.

    God bless,
    Linda

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  7. Hi Linda:

    I'm happy you are benefitting from my articles.

    Stories such as the one about your ate husband are not out of the ordinary. Sometimes hard to know what to make of these.

    Personally, I do not agree with Hodges/Wilkin on this. Ryrie does not agree with that either. I think James 2 is clear in that there should be some evidence of a genuine conversion.

    Thanks for the comments,


    Lou

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