Examining Calvinism-Reformed Theology on Regeneration
True or False: Does Regeneration Precede Faith?
There are many websites, blogs, articles, audios, etc. out there concerning Calvinism and the doctrine of Regeneration stating, “regeneration precedes faith”. Calvinism teaches that a person must first be regenerated in order to put faith in Jesus Christ. Calvinism teaches that after a person has been regenerated by the Holy Spirit, they they become spiritually alive, given a new birth, have become born again, and now they are able to freely choose to believe in Jesus Christ by faith. Does regeneration precede faith in Jesus? Does the Bible teach that regeneration must precede faith in order for a person to be able to receive and believe in Jesus Christ?
Here is just a few Reformed Resources on this
Dr. R. C. Sproul: “The term regeneration comes from two Greek words that can be literally translated as “born again,” but most people probably do not think of regeneration immediately when they hear this phrase.” link
Dr. R. C. Sproul: “In the Augustinian and Reformation view, regeneration is seen first of all as a supernatural work of God. Regeneration is the divine work of God the Holy Spirit upon the minds and souls of fallen people, by which the Spirit quickens those who are spiritually dead and makes them spiritually alive. This supernatural work rescues that person from his bondage to sin and his moral inability to incline himself towards the things of God. Regeneration, by being a supernatural work, is obviously a work that cannot be accomplished by natural man on his own. If it were a natural work, it would not require the intervention of God the Holy Spirit..when the Holy Spirit regenerates a human soul, the purpose of that regeneration is to bring that person to saving faith in Jesus Christ. That purpose is effected and accomplished as God purposes in the intervention. Regeneration is more than giving a person the possibility of having faith, it gives him the certainty of possessing that saving faith.” link
Canons of Dordt Third and Fourth Main Points of Doctrine: “And this is the regeneration, the new creation, the raising from the dead, and the making alive so clearly proclaimed in the Scriptures, which God works in us without our help. But this certainly does not happen only by outward teaching, by moral persuasion, or by such a way of working that, after God has done his work, it remains in man’s power whether or not to be reborn or converted. Rather, it is an entirely supernatural work, one that is at the same time most powerful and most pleasing, a marvelous, hidden, and inexpressible work, which is not lesser than or inferior in power to that of creation or of raising the dead, as Scripture (inspired by the author of this work) teaches. As a result, all those in whose hearts God works in this marvelous way are certainly, unfailingly, and effectively reborn and do actually believe. And then the will, now renewed, is not only activated and motivated by God but in being activated by God is also itself active. For this reason, man himself, by that grace which he has received, is also rightly said to believe and to repent.” (Canons of Dordt, Article 12: Regeneration a Supernatural Work)
Questions for thought – What does the Bible teach?
Regeneration according to the Calvinism’s (reformed theology) perspective is that a person must “first” be born again, made alive, quickened, regenerated, of which they are then saved, and now they are able to believe and have faith in Jesus Christ.
- How were people “regenerated” prior to the work of the cross and resurrection according to John 1:12-13, John 7:37-39, John 14:16-17, John 20:22?
- Where do we read in the Old Testament that people were regenerated in order that they were then able to follow the Lord God?
Is the doctrine that regeneration precedes faith true or false? Is this Biblical? What does the Bible teach?
This is an open discussion on examining does regeneration precede faith for both Calvinist’s and non-Calvinist’s.