Sent: Sunday, June 26, 2005 4:31 PM
Subject: REFORMED PASTOR vs HARDSHELLISM [06/25--2005]

In his book, A MODERN EXPOSITION OF THE 1689 BAPTIST CONFESSION OF FAITH, published by Evangelical Press in 1989, Pastor Samuel E. Waldron of Reformed Baptist Church, Grand Rapids, Michigan, expounds Chapter 10 on Effectual Calling (pages 147-153).

Pastor Waldron discusses the Confession's teaching about the salvation of infants dying in infancy, and he takes note of the theory of the Hardshells 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 salvation: (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."

This exposition not only nails the Hardshell theory which denies the instrumentality of the Word in adult regeneration, but what he says also applies to the Pedobaptist (infant baptizers) theory held by such as Louis Berkhof and endorsed by those who follow Berkhof's Systematic Theology presentation. This theory is obviously at the root of the "pre-faith regeneration" idea which dispenses with the Word as a necessary instrument in the New Birth. It has infants supposedly "regenerated" in early life, long before they are capable of hearing and believing the Gospel, and it alleges that regeneration likewise is accomplished in adults without the Word as the Spirit's necessary instrument.

We are happy to call attention to this quotation from a popular Reformed Baptist writer who maintains the Confessional view that Effectual Calling is by BOTH the Word and Spirit, not merely through a prior "direct operation" by the Spirit alone before, apart from, and without the use of the Word as the necessary instrumentality.

As Paul says in First Corinthians 4:15, "In Christ Jesus I have begotten you THROUGH THE GOSPEL."

"For our gospel came not unto you in WORD ONLY, but also in power, and in the HOLY GHOST, and in much assurance; as ye know what manner of men we were among you for your sake" (1 Thess. 1:5). -- Bob L. Ross

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