Saturday, February 27, 2010

Garrett Rebutts "Regeneration" Theory


On the BaptistGadfly blog, our longtime friend, Stephen Garrett, a former Primitive Baptist ("Hardshell") Pastor for several years, refers to some materials by James White and John Piper which relate to the modern "Reformed" theory on "pre-faith regeneration," or the idea that a person is "born again before, without, and apart from faith."

For the past four years on the Calvinist Flyswatter blog, we have exposed and refuted this theory, as has Brother Garrett on his blog. It is the very core doctrine of Hardshellism, and no one understands this better than an ex-Hardshell advocate such as Brother Garrett. [See one of my primary articles here. Also see here].

Here is an email I sent to Brother Garrett about his recent article:

That's a good article on White & Piper.
I've had a couple of calls from a Primitive Baptist pastor in Georgia, and I think he may have contacted you, too. He has become disenchanted, evidently, with the "pre-faith regenation" notion advocated by many in the "Reformed" camp.

In conversing with him, I referred him tp Dr. W. G. T. Shedd, Vol., 2, pages 492, 494, where Shedd virtually attributes the "Reformed" view on regeneration to Francis Turretin, and says, "We shall adopt this distinction" [made by Turretin] "between regeneration and conversion . . . Regeneration is the origination of life; conversion is the evolution and manifestation of life."

I wonder how many modern "Reformed" Calvinists know that they are advocating "Turretinism" in contrast to what Shedd admits -- namely that "the divines of the seventeenth century [Puritans] very generally DO NOT DISTINGUISH BETWEEN REGENERATION AND CONVERSION, but employ the two as SYNONYMS"? (Shedd, Vol. 2, page 492).

Shedd even cites John Owen, Stephen Charnock, and the Westminster Confession as being of the latter category -- that is, they did not advocate "Turretinism." Shedd alleges that their view "led to confusion of ideas and views" (Vol. 2, page 493), but the Turretin view "arose gradually" to become an accepted concept and, as Shedd admits, was adopted by Shedd himself (page 494).

Do you have Shedd to consult on this?

Bob L. Ross

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