Sent: Wednesday, August 10, 2005 2:13 PM
Subject: PEDOBAPTIST INVENTIONS? 08/10--2005

My email box again this morning received an email which seemed to suggest that the new birth ("life") can exist, or does exist, or must exist, "before faith" is created in the sinner by the Holy Spirit in His empowering of the Word of God to the dead sinner, thereby bringing him to life. 

Let me comment on this matter once again, and explain why the Pedobaptists [baby baptizers] obviously invented this theory to justify their view on infant regeneration.

A Baptist has no business giving this theory any credence.

Louis Berkhof,
the Pedobaptist Reformed theologian, said, "It is true that some Reformed authors have occasionally used the term 'regeneration' as including even sanctification, but that was in the days when the ORDO SALUTIS was not as fully developed as it is today" (Systematic Theology, page 468).

This simply means that the concept identified in the Pedobaptist jargon, "ordo salutis," which Berkhof promoted, is of recent development in Reformed theology.

In fact, Berkhof expresses disagreement with the "seventeenth century theology" of the Puritans, and evidently even with the statements on the new birth in the Westminster Confession of Faith and Canons of Dort (pages 470, 471, 476).

Berkhof alleges that the views of some past confessions "fail to discriminate carefully between the elements we distinguish in regeneration" (page 476).

Berkhof is here talking about what is called the "ordo salutis," or the order of "elements" in the experience of salvation --  an experience in which Berkhof has the new birth preceeding faith, or as expressed by R. C. Sproul, "regeneration preceeds faith."

This is also what is being passed off in our time as "monergism," which we believe is a distortion of the term. True monergism does not preclude the use of the Word as an instrumentality in the new birth, or the creating of faith and new life in Christ.

The question is, WHY do Pedobaptists theologians such as Berkhof, W. G. T. Shedd and others insist upon dissecting and separating regeneration (life) from faith, thereby excluding the essential, necessary use of the Word as an instrument in the new birth?

Is it not because they find this a convenient "logical" argument to the minds of their Pedobaptist constituency in support of their theory of infant regeneration apart from both the Word and faith? 

I think it is. They admit that infants are "incapable of faith," but they believe that infants born to believers inherit the blessing of regeneration (new birth) and that they are regenerated (born again) in infancy, or perhaps even before they are actually born into the world (per John Robbins' view).

It is logically impossible for infants who are incapable of faith to be regenerated in infancy if actual faith is of the essence of regeneration (life). Consequently, in order to preserve their theory on infant regeneration, they contend that faith must come "after" regeneration (life), so that the infant has the new birth but is not yet a believer. They hold that the believing can come later, and will come later if the infant was indeed regenerated in infancy.

Berkhof alleges that in the case of infants, "The new life is often implanted in the hearts of children LONG BEFORE they are able to hear the call of the gospel," and infants "receive the seed of regeneration LONG BEFORE they come to years of discretion and therefore long before the effectual calling" (pages 471, 472).

That simply means, according to Berkhof, that "life" (new birth) can exist without faith, and his "ordo salutis" has the new birth preceeding faith. R. C. Sproul says he learned this in seminary, and I presume that Berkhof's Systematic Theology may have been the textbook used in class.

It is seems to be rather obvious that the Pedobaptist "ordo salutis" (and its counterpart Pedobaptist "monergism") was a theoretical concept which was developed as a logical argument whereby to justify the belief that infants born to believers are very early regenerated "(born again" or given "life"), and that the Word of God is not necessary to their regeneration, and consequently faith is not of the essence of being "born again" by the Holy Spirt's using the Word of God in its creation.

Awhile back, I quoted from Samuel E. Waldron on this matter. In his book, A MODERN EXPOSITION OF THE 1689 BAPTIST CONFESSION OF FAITH, published by Evangelical Press in 1989. I understand that Waldron was at the time Pastor of Reformed Baptist Church, Grand Rapids, Michigan, and he expounds Chapter 10 on Effectual Calling on pages 147-153 of the book.

Pastor Waldron discusses the Confession's teaching about the salvation of infants "dying in infancy," and he takes note of the theory about regeneration apart from the use of instrumentality. He writes:

"Many are ready to draw a bad and unnecessary deduction from their doctrine of infant salvation. Their reasoning goes something like this: Infants are regenerated and saved. If infants are regenerated and saved, it cannot be by means of the Word of God.  Hence infants are regenerated, called, saved without the means of God's Word by the mere work of the Spirit.  Adults, therefore, are not regenerated by means of the Word.  Regeneration is the immediate operation of the Spirit working without the Word. Several dangerous inferences have been drawn from this doctrine. It has been said that many are saved years before hearing the gospel, that many are regenerated who yet live in sin, and that there may be a long gap between regeneration and conversion."

He goes on to conclude, 
"Effectual calling and regeneration occur by the means of the Word (2 Thess. 2:14; 1 Peter 1:23-25; James 1:17-25; 1 John 5:1-5; Rom. 1:16, 17; 10:14; Heb. 4:12). To draw from speculation about the regeneration of infants a deduction which flies in the face of Scripture is thoroughly unjustifiable procedure" (pages 151, 152).

Pastor Waldron noted in this statement that there are at least three "dangerous inferences" related to this theory about of infant regeneration: (1) "many are saved years before hearing the gospel," (2) "many of regenerated who yet live in sin," and (3) "there may be a long gap between regeneration and conversion."

-- Bob L. Ross

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