Regeneration and The Flyswatter: Part One, Bad Apologetics

This series begins with a guest post by Sam Hughey of The Reformed Reader.

Regeneration Before Faith

Gene M. Bridges (who frequently posts on Baptists Discussing Reformation) and Bob Ross (Calvinist Gadfly swatter) have exchanged comments regarding the Reformed view of Regeneration Before Faith. I think this is an edifying example of good and bad Apologetics and can be useful to all of us in our Apologetical development (especially mine). The source document is found here.

Gene Bridges affirms the view that man must be regenerated before man can have salvific faith while Bob Ross responds (to the contrary) with several Apologetical and Biblical errors:

1) Criticizing one’s activity does not disprove one’s view of Scripture. Gene’s ‘bloviating’ on numerous Internet Blogs fails to prove Gene’s use of Scripture is either correct or incorrect and certainly has no bearing on his use of time in so doing.

2) Forcing one’s presupposed conclusion onto another’s statements for the purpose of disproving their view is Apologetical suicide and shows the inability (or unwillingness) to accurately and honestly deal with the facts. Many of us make this same error and often without serious consideration as to what we are doing.

Bob Ross claims that any words resembling the phrase regeneration precedes faith belongs to the Hardshell Doctrine or is, at the least, ‘a’ Hardshell Baptist doctrine. While Hardshell Baptist doctrine includes the view that regeneration precedes faith, one is not necessarily a Hardshell (Primitive) Baptist on that merit. The reasoning is absurd. This type of fallacious reasoning would associate one with anything any other religious groups believes merely on the basis of ‘some’ type of similar belief. Is an Evangelical Christian in agreement with a Roman Catholic, Mormon, Jehovah’s Witness, etc., merely because all these groups believe in God?

Bob Ross claims Gene’s view of Regeneration preceding Faith fails to agree with Reformed Theology and is disproved merely on the grounds that one individual disagrees with him.Bob Ross stated,

Gene’s ignorance of Reformed theology is appalling and is refuted by none other than John Frame, professor of theology at Reformed Theological Seminary.

Is the whole of Reformed Theology proven or disproved solely on the view of John Frame? Bob Ross believes this. John Frame’s statement is this,

I hold the Reformed view that children in infancy, even before birth, can be regenerated and saved, presumably before they have any conscious doctrinal beliefs.

So, how does Frame’s statement disagree with Bridges’? Both (Frame and Bridges) believe salvation occurs prior to the recipient having salvific faith. Both believe salvation occurs prior to belief. Both believe salvation is accomplished without man’s doctrinal involvement. Something that should be noted here is if Bob Ross is correct, that the unborn are not saved unless they have a conscious doctrinal belief then one must assume they either are taught the correct Biblical doctrinal belief, while still in the womb, or no unborn child is saved because they cannot have a conscious doctrinal belief.

Bob Ross continues with one of the most absurd remarks I have ever read/heard;

If a child is regenerated in infancy or even before birth and holds no “conscious doctrinal beliefs,” you have a REGENERATED UNBELIEVER. Don’t give me that nonsense about “The relationship is logical and causal, but not temporal.” Reformed Theological Seminary professor John Frame clearly holds to a temporal relationship.

Perhaps Bob Ross does not understand the Biblical doctrine of Regeneration but it should be clear to anyone, Reformed or not, if Regeneration occurs one is no longer an unbeliever. To assume one can be Regenerated and still be an unbeliever is absurd and speaks contrary to Scripture.

Bob Ross attempts to defend his un-Biblical view of regeneration using Carroll as his defense with the following statement from Carroll (source not given), As the founder of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Dr. Carroll said,

(1) Every one born of God has the right be called a child of God.
(2) But no one has the right until he believes in Jesus.
(3) Therefore the new birth is not completed without faith.
No one, according to Dr. Carroll, is regenerated without faith!

That nobody is regenerated without having faith is not the issue. ‘WHEN’ they have this faith is the issue and Carroll clarifies ‘WHEN’ with his following statement,

The true scriptural position [concerning regeneration] is this: There is, first of all, a direct influence of the Holy Spirit on the passive spirit of the sinner, quickening him or making him sensitive to the preaching of the Word. In this the sinner is passive. But he is not a subject of the new birth without contrition, repentance and faith. In exercising these he is active. Yet even his contrition is but a response to the Spirit’s conviction, and the exercise of his repentance is but a response to the Spirit’s conviction, and the exercise of his repentance and faith are but responses to the antecedent spiritual graces of repentance and faith. Carroll goes on to state that “repentance and faith are fruits of regeneration, (An Interpretation of the English Bible, Volume 4, p. 287).

Notice, Carroll clearly states that even faith is a response to the Holy Spirit’s conviction and faith is the fruit of regeneration, not the cause of it.

But Carroll is not the only Reformed Theologian who disagrees with Bob Ross and if Reformed Theologians are what makes or breaks Bob Ross’ theology, the following must be taken into equal consideration:

1. Q. What is meant by the word regeneration? A. Regeneration is God’s causing a person to be born again. 9. Q. Does faith come before the new birth? A. No, it is the new heart that truly repents and believes, From John A. Broadus’ A Catechism of Bible Teaching, reprinted in A Baptist Treasury, pp. 67-68.

In our natural state we are totally depraved. No inclination to holiness exists in the carnal heart; and no holy act can be performed, or service to God rendered, until the heart is changed. This change, it is the office of the Holy Spirit to effect. . . . But, in his own time and manner, God, the Holy Spirit, makes the word effectual in producing a new affection in the soul: and, when the first movement of love to God exists, the first throb of spiritual life commences, From John L. Dagg’s A Manual of Theology, pp. 277, 279).

Regeneration is a change of the soul’s affections from self to God―an act of God by which the governing disposition of the soul which was formerly sinful becomes holy, 2 Cor. 2:17―this making us new creatures, From J.B. Tidwell’s Christian Teachings, p. 54.

This change [i.e., regeneration] is one that is wrought in the moral nature of man by the Spirit of God. Nothing but divine power could produce the change. . . . God’s power works this change. . . . The man who experiences regeneration knows as well as he knows daylight from darkness that he himself did not work the change, From W.T. Conner’s The Gospel of Redemption, p. 189.

Two of the most influential Baptist documents also support the view that faith is the fruit of regeneration, not the cause of it:

Regeneration is a change of heart, wrought by the Holy Spirit, who quickeneth the dead in trespasses and sins enlightening their minds spiritually and savingly to understand the Word of God, and renewing their whole nature, so that they love God and practice holiness. It is a work of God’s free and special grace alone, From The Abstract of Principles, VIII

Regeneration, or the new birth, is a work of God’s grace whereby believers become new creatures in Christ Jesus. It is a change of heart wrought by the Holy Spirit through conviction of sin, to which the sinner responds in repentance toward God and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, From The Baptist Faith and Message, IV. Salvation, A.

Bob Ross boasts that he has had no takers for an open debate on B.H. Carroll’s view. Perhaps it is because Carroll and many other Reformed (Baptist) Theologians have already settled the issue? If anyone accepts Ross’s invitation to debate him, perhaps he can explain why Carroll would say faith precedes regeneration but also says it is the fruit of regeneration.
_________________
Sam Hughey
The first to plead his case seem right; until another comes and examines him.—Proverbs 18:17
The Reformed Reader, Committed to the Historic Baptist faith!

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19 Comments on “Regeneration and The Flyswatter: Part One, Bad Apologetics”

  1. Allan Says:

    I don’t agree with Gene on this subject either:

    “Woe to you, Korazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! If the miracles that were performed in you had been performed in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. But I tell you, it will be more bearable for Tyre and Sidon on the day of judgment than for you. And you, Capernaum, will you be lifted up to the skies? No, you will go down to the depths. If the miracles that were performed in you had been performed in Sodom, it would have remained to this day. But I tell you that it will be more bearable for Sodom on the day of judgment than for you.” [Matthew 11:20-24]

    It looks and sounds to me like repentence is before born-agian. Otherwise Jesus statement would have been; “IF they were born-agian/regenerate they would have repented.” Jesus even goes so far as to states THEY “WOULD” HAVE REPENTED…

  2. Gene Says:

    How absurd. Matt. 11 is not even about regeneration.

    Nobody denies that people repent and that they do so from the preaching of the gospel. The question has to do with the logical priority. Here he is speaking, in this text, of cities that had rejected the gospel, not only that they had all the covenants, they enjoyed the knowledge of the full span of the Law and redemptive history, and they had far enough revelation from God to know who Christ was. Greater works were done in these than in these pagan cities. The people are so hard of heart, they should have repented. Why would they have repented, and would this repentance be true or only external?

    Jesus is saying that these cities have less excuse than Tyre and Sidon had, for they are far off from the Covenant, but had they seen the things there that they had seen in these covenant cities, they would have repented. But what, Allan, would have caused them to repent over those actions? Will you say they were more spiritual? More fearful? More amazed? Smarter? What would have been the cause of their repentance?

    From Gill: These words are to be understood in a popular sense, as Grotius observes, and express what was probable, according to an human judgment of things; and the meaning is, that if the inhabitants of Tyre and Sidon had had the advantages of Christ’s ministry, and of seeing his miracles, as the inhabitants of Chorazin and Bethsaida had, it looks very likely, or one would be ready to conclude, especially from many coming out of these parts, to attend on Christ’s ministry, Mr 3:8 and from the conversion of some of them in after times, Ac 21:3 they would have repented of their sins; at least, in an external way, signified by sackcloth and ashes, which were outward signs of repentance

    It’s worth noting that Scripture does not deny that men can repent outwardly without an effectual calling. However, this text is not dealing with individual salvation. Rather it is dealing with their receptivity to the gospel and the treatment of Christ. In Matthew, Christ is presented as the prophet bringing the lawsuit on Israel and looking for faith, the fruit of the fig tree. Israel should have, if she had not loved her sin and reveled in her ignorance due to the actions of her leaders, recognized Christ. Yet in this text, we’re told they had all the Law and the Prophets and yet they acted like children in the marketplace who refused to respond the funeral dirge or the wedding music.

    The works Christ did were demonstrative of the gospel’s proclamation, the coming of a lawsuit, and the culmination of the Old Covenant itself. At a minimum, they should have demonstrated the repentance of Ninevah or worse Ahab. They did not even do this much. They did not even muster temporary external repentance.

    What lies behind a man’s true repentance? Men do not repent from a state of nature. That, Allan, must come from an effectual call. This text is, in point of fact, proof that if Tyre and Sidon had repented, it would be at the grace of God and a result of regeneration. More likely what’s being referenced is merely their external, temporary repentance, which was common among pagan cities, for they were without covenant.

    This very text goes on to tell us why people repent. You may want to let your eyes drop down to Matt. 11:25 – 30. Take particular note of 27 and 28.

    If you wish to demonstrate that repentance does not logically occur after regeneration then deal with 1 John 5:1. If you deny 1 John 5:1 teaches that faith is the result of regeneration, then you must logically affirm that faith is the result of works and loving the brethren, both of which are in the same text in the same structure.

    What makes Mr. Ross error so highly problematic is that he claims to represent confessional Calvinism. This is part one of series of articles dealing with that issue.

  3. David Hewitt Says:

    VG, Gene!

    I’d add 1 John 2:29 too as a comparison with 1 John 5:1. The grammatical construction is the same.

    I’m glad to see someone taking the spouting of the Calvinist Gadfly and refuting it. Thank you brethren for doing so and the manner in which you have done it!

    SDG,
    DBH

  4. Nathan White Says:

    Wow, has anyone been to the (I hate to say it) Flyswatter lately? Check out what it has turned into.

  5. Nathan White Says:

    Whoops, nevermind 🙂 Instead, check out calvinistflyswatter.blogpot.com, not blogspot.com. Ha! Too funny.

  6. Allan Says:

    Gene,

    Quote: “This text is, in point of fact, proof that if Tyre and Sidon had repented, it would be at the grace of God and a result of regeneration. More likely what’s being referenced is merely their external, temporary repentance, which was common among pagan cities, for they were without covenant.”

    Your entire “opinion” is boiled down to “More likely what is being referenced…” Not because what I stated was true or false but because it must be manipulated to conform to what you believe. I state this because you follow it with pure rhetoric about external, temporal repentence. There is no place in scripture that makes the statement there was any other type of repentence before Christ other than temporal. They were in a constant state of sin and therefore needed to continue with the sacrifices.

    However, you still neglect to contend with the Jesus in His statement “THEY” and then the next words “WOULD HAVE REPENTED”. Not If God would have given them repentence. I doubt that Jesus was quite so illiterate that He could not distinquish between the two phrases dipicting the choices that could have been made. Another thing neglegted to be mentioned is that repentence is always depicted with salvation. whether short term or long term (OT) but with Christ it was ALWAYS about eternal salvation. Can you show me where Christ wanted anything less than this, to those to whom He spoke.

    Quote:
    “This very text goes on to tell us why people repent. You may want to let your eyes drop down to Matt. 11:25 – 30. Take particular note of 27 and 28.”

    Actually let us start with Mat 11:20
    20Then began he to upbraid the cities wherein most of his mighty works were done, because they repented not:

    Why would Jesus rebuke those to whom God did not give repentence, for not repenting. That my friend is absurd!

    God in His good pleasure (Eph. 1:5) had hidden the great mysteries of His wise dealings from the wise and learned (the leaders in general of that day) but had revealed them to little children. (obviously not leaders in general) (“Father” occurs five times in vv. 25-27.) Hence the only ones who can know the Father and the things He has revealed are those whom the Son chooses. Therefore Jesus issued a call to “all… who are weary and burdened to “come” to Him. Again salvation is not before repentence.

    Finally, 1 John 5:1 is the worst example you can use to try to state salvation comes before repentence.
    It states : “5:1 Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God, and everyone who loves the Father loves whoever has been born of him.”

    This is a declaration of the state of a beleiver NOT a declaration of when a person believes. Paraphrased (He who beleives IS born again) You aught to know better than to gramatically butcher a text to confirm a view.

    Act 2 is another good example of repentence before salvation.
    It states “37Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do? 38Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.”

    The greek meaning of peirce is to pierce thouroughly NOT to change, remake, and or regenerate. To cut deeply and then they asked What must we do (to be saved) Why would a beleiver/regenerate/born-again person ask such a nonsensical question. And then Peters answer is even more ridiculous to state they must repent in order to receive the Holy Spirit. Now you can not be born agian/regenerate/and or saved without the Holy Spirit. But if Repentence is before salvation, then Peter is correct other wise Peter is a believer in Work (by your logic) in stead of Faith In the Saving “WORK” of Christ. It’s late – gotta go. There are many things we agree on but this one happens to not be One. But I still love ya Gene, and God bless your ministry 🙂

  7. Gene Says:

    Quote: Not because what I stated was true or false but because it must be manipulated to conform to what you believe. I state this because you follow it with pure rhetoric about external, temporal repentence.

    A. Excuse me, but Scripture is replete with stories of external, temporal repentance. Tyre and Sidon in the OT are, in point of fact, associated with pagan cities that manifested external, temporal. repentance, Allan. These are mentioned together in Jeremiah 27, where they are told to bear the yoke of Babylon and not rise up in an alliance with Judah against Babylon because God has designed it. They do not rebel. Effectively they “repent” that is, they heed the word of the Lord and not the false prophets of Israel. Yet, the people of Israel persist in their sins and ignore the massive revelation given to them in the priests, Scriptures, covenants, etc., including Jeremiah. Judah is consequently destroyed. “Tyre and Sidon” far from this amount of revelation actually do what Jeremiah advises. Jesus picks this up and then proceeds to pronounce this woe. Later, however, Tyre and Sidon are conquered by Babylon, and in Ezekiel Tyre is judged. This has nothing to do with individual salvation.

    B. As to rhetoric, I submit this jeremiad is a classic example of mirror-reading.

    Quote: There is no place in scripture that makes the statement there was any other type of repentence before Christ other than temporal.

    A. Try Hebrews 12 about Esau, there is repentance that does not lead to salvation: try 2 Corinthians. Try the parable of the different types of ground. There is such a thing as false faith and false repentance.

    B. In addition, where there mention this “repentance before Christ” related to individual salvation in this particular text? This judgment comes because they rejected John the Baptist and the miracles Jesus had done. The focus is corporate, not individual. The miracles confirm His identity, but, this is placed at the head of Jesus ministry, not late in it. In the literay scheme of Mt. it comes after several sermons, but his is a woe and a classic example of a prophet verdict brought in a covenant lawsuit, cf. Is 22; Jer 2-11; Ezek 24; Amos 2:4-3:8; Mic 1:9-15. I’d add that God made good on this too, because Tyre is still standing and Capernaum is nothing but rubble. This is about the corporate rejection of Christ by the covenant people and a comparison with pagans, not individual salvation. It has a sum total of zero to do with regeneration.

    In this text, Capernaum is mentioned. That’s believed to be Matthew’s home. They received him gladly, and then what happened? The fell away. They did not manifest true repentance and they became so hard that they walked away. See John 6, Allan. The words SEMANTIC ANACHRONISM are screaming from your keyboard.

    Quote: Another thing neglegted to be mentioned is that repentence is always depicted with salvation. whether short term or long term (OT) but with Christ it was ALWAYS about eternal salvation.

    Huh? 2 Cor. 7: 10 For the sorrow that is according to the will of God produces a repentance without regret, leading to salvation, but the sorrow of the world produces death. There’s valid repentance and false repentance.

    Quote: Can you show me where Christ wanted anything less than this, to those to whom He spoke.

    Yes, the conclusion of John 12, where John quotes from Isa. 6. The miracles and the message blind and harden. In addition, Jesus in Matthew is bringing a prophetic lawsuit. That is the whole trajectory of Matthew’s gospel. He is hiding the teaching from the rank and file while seeing what fruit if any he finds on the fig tree / in the vineyard of Israel. It should be there in some way. He’s carrying out the lawsuit procedure begun by God Himself (arrival, observation, interview, verdict). What He finds forms the reason for his indictments against the leaders in the Temple during Passion Week. He is explaining the meaning of His parables to the 12 only. Every parable He spoke was designed to keep some people from understanding. He explained them to His disciples. This very text in 25ff. mirrors John 6:44, 45 and 65, as well as John 5:16ff.

    Quote:However, you still neglect to contend with the Jesus in His statement “THEY” and then the next words “WOULD HAVE REPENTED”.

    Actually, I did that, Allan. In fact, that is simply a figure of speech by which Jesus is saying that, those pagan cities, afar off from the prophets and covenants had not sinned as greatly in God’s sight as these cities, because these cities had all the prophets and covenants and still they did not repent. Those cities, had they seen these things would have shown more response than these. In fact, Allan, the very fact that these Jewish cities had all of those benefits plus Jesus coming among them is evidence that God must draw men effectually to Himself, which is, for all intents and purposes, what the next pericope teaches. I’ll ask you this again. Why would one city and not another repent?

    Quote: Not If God would have given them repentence.

    Why does one repent and not the other? You were asked this, why did you not answer? It strikes me that you’re avoiding this like the plague.

    Quote: I doubt that Jesus was quite so illiterate that He could not distinquish between the two phrases dipicting the choices that could have been made.

    The only thing “illiterate” here is the requiste that Matthew use those particular words about God giving repentance. As I recall, you are not the Holy Spirit inspiring Sacred Writ. Furthermore that’s the very thing that the next pericope mentions. In addition, nobody denies that a call must go out in order for people to repent.

    Quote: Another thing neglegted to be mentioned is that repentence is always depicted with salvation.

    No, it is sometimes depicted as spurious repentance. See Ahab.

    In salvfic contexts, we affirm that regeneration results in conversion. Thus providing the reason that one person repents and not another. It requires means, the Word of God. Regeneration is effected by the effectual call. It is the giving of new life to the believer. Where have I ever denied this? On the contrary, I have affirmed this many times. This is precisely what Bob Ross has been saying about me, James White, Timmy, RC Sproul, and hosts of others. He says I and they deny instrumentality. I and they do not. He says that I and they deny that regeneration and repentance/faith (conversion) are coincident. I and they do not. (The only exception is in some Reformed Baptists and Presbys with respect to infants, and that very topic, if you would allow me to post it later this week or the first of next, will be presented here to discuss what these views are). On the contrary, I have repeatedly told him that the two are concomitant. The order is logical and causal not temporal. Regeneration precedes faith and repentance, but they are so coincident temporally as to be considered nigh to simultaneous. If you don’t believe I have stated this, then go over to my other blog, Triablogue, and research my replies to him there from the past few months.

    Quote: Why would Jesus rebuke those to whom God did not give repentence, for not repenting. That my friend is absurd!

    Because duty and responsibility have nothing to do with ability. He rebukes them because they had all the covenants, the prophets, etc. and had been visted by Him and John the Baptist. They had more revelation than any other cities, and they rejected it. God is under no obligation to give repentance. Such would conflate responsibility with blame, conflating a necessary and a sufficient condition, and it moves the giving of repentance out of the category of mercy into the category of remunerative justice.

    God gave the Law to expose sin and increase the consciousness of our inability to keep the Law so we would know we are condemned sinners and without excuse for our sins. The Law’s purpose is to show us that we do not have the ability to keep it, not to show us our ability to keep it. “The Law came in so that transgression might increase.” (Rom.6:20a).

    The Law is good, but it is our love of evil that keeps us from keeping it. “By the works of the Law, shall no flesh be justified.” (Rom.3:20, Gal.2:16). If men have the ability to keep the Law, then there are two ways of salvation: works and grace. Such an idea ultimately negates the need for the gospel itself. Paul specifically calls such a thing an anathema in Galatians.

    The Law cannot justify because of the weakness of the flesh (Romans 8:3). Paul tells us more about exactly what makes the flesh weak. Romans 8:5-8; For those who are according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace, because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so, and those who are in the flesh cannot please God.

    Your objection is irrational. Nothing can be deduced about abilities from a command, and God is not under obligation to give repentance to anybody and is thus not to be blamed. One can command someone to do something to show them their inability and increase their guilt. Remember, the reason that men cannot obey is moral. They cannot obey, because, by nature, they do not want to obey.

    God commands men to repent in Isa. 6, yet He also told Isaiah that, in issuing that command, He would harden men through this action, confirming them in their sins according to their own sinful natures.

    Jesus can hold them accountable, because they loved their own wickedness. Jesus can hold them accountable for the same reason that Judas is held accountable for the betrayal even though it was predestined and he never had a chance. Ability, Allan, does not limit responsibility. God is under NO OBLIGATION to give repentance to anybody. Men have a duty to repent, regardless of whether or not God grants it. If we follow your logic to its end then God is not morally responsible, because He cannot sin. Satan is not morally responsible, because he cannot do good and God is wrong for holding him accountable but not giving him repentance. And every person that is left in their sins is not responsible, and, what’s more, the best way to avoid moral responsibility is to remain in one’s sins. That, Allan, is what is absurd. God commands that we perfectly obey the Ten Commandments. Our inability to do so morally does not take away our moral guilt because our inability is moral and intentional. We wanted to disobey. In Ezekiel 18:31, “Rid yourselves of all the offenses you have committed, and get a new heart and a new spirit.” Can we do this? No! Though it is a command, God must do this himself: Ezekiel 36:26: I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. So a command to believe, a command to choose, does not imply we are able to do this. The prerequiste for moral responsibility is a command and the duty it engenders not the moral ability or inability of the person to carry it out.

    Quote: Therefore Jesus issued a call to “all… who are weary and burdened to “come” to Him. Again salvation is not before repentence.

    A. “Salvation is not before repentance” conflates regeneration and salvation. This is a category error underwritten by a textbook example of equivocation. Why? Because even you must admit men are justified after they repent but before they are regenerated or, alternatively, regenerated before they are justified; either way, they are “saved” before they are saved.

    B. Who denies men do not repent before they are “saved,” eg. justified? Repentance is part of conversion. Regeneration results in conversion.

    C. We have here a classic example of the general call. However, one must be aware one is weary and heavy laden in order to respond to this invitation and come to Christ. Yes, Jesus does call “all.” What Calvinist denies the general call? He calls all who are heavy laden. Tell us, why does one person perceive themselves heavily laden and not another, Allan? What causes one person to repent and not another? I asked you this above and in your emotionally laden jeremiad, you avoided it.

    D. Notice that there is a restriction here: those who are weary and heavily laden. It’s not to everybody without exception it is to these persons. This contrasts quite nicely with the way those to whom Christ preached and among whom He worked miracles generally thought themselves. They thought they could see, but they were blind. They thought they were righteous but they were not. They thought they could walk but they were lame. They thought they understood, but they were ignorant. They did this with all the Law and the Prophets, the Feasts, the Temple, the sacrifices, and generations of history. What then, in their hardness of heart, could cause them to see themselves as weary and heavy laden?

    Quote: Act 2 is another good example of repentence before salvation.
    It states “37Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do? 38Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.”

    Acts tells us that those appointed to eternal life believed. Also, who opened their hearts? Nobody denies that repentance precedes justification. It, along with faith, is a component of conversion. Regeneration is not the same thing as “salvation.” In addition, citing this passage conflates regeneration and indwelling. You’ve made two category errors. What’s more, no Calvinist does not admit that regeneration in the widest meaning of the term encompassses the effectual call and continues throughout life. God regenerates we are regenerated and thus regenerate. Here, Bob Ross and I are discussing the narrow meaning of the term, that which results in conversion, that which occurs when the Holy Spirit infuses spiritual life and raises the dead sinner to life through the effectual call. This is the narrow meaning of the term, and this is what we mean when we say “regeneration precedes faith.” Go to monergism.com and research “ordu salutis.”

    Quote: The greek meaning of peirce is to pierce thouroughly NOT to change, remake, and or regenerate. To cut deeply and then they asked What must we do (to be saved) Why would a beleiver/regenerate/born-again person ask such a nonsensical question.

    A. Nobody denies the lexical meaning of the term.

    B. They would ask such a question, for many reasons. I can supply one: the effectual call. That, Allan, is why they would make such an inquiry. It is YOU who can provide no reason, because libertarian freedom commits you to uncaused choices. So, my worldview has the mechanism to answer your question. Yours does not. It cuts the causal nerve.

    C. Nobody denies they repented, the question you must answer is why they repented?

    D. We are not discussing a temporal relation. We are discussing a logical and causal relation between repentance and conversion.

    Quote: Now you can not be born agian/regenerate/and or saved without the Holy Spirit.

    A. That’s right. Nobody denies this. The Holy Spirit’s agency regenerates you through the instrumentality of the Word, conviction of sin, etc. and most especially His power to raise the dead sinner to life. Thus you are enable to repent and believe. This is what we mean when saying “regeneration precedes faith.” Alas, you do not, I surmise, mean this if you place regeneration after faith.

    B. Rather you conflate indwelling and regeneration and salvation and regeneration. The effectual call regenerates, we repent and believe, are justified. “Salvation” encompasses all of these elements, particularly justification and its consequent elements, sanctification and glorification. These are precise terms with precise meanings. We do not conflate them in Reformed Theology. Again, go research the usage of these terms. I’m beginning to think you don’t understand the way we use them. With respect to regeneration, I will be posting about the way this particular term is used in Reformed Theology in a few days.

    Quote: But if Repentence is before salvation, then Peter is correct other wise Peter is a believer in Work (by your logic) in stead of Faith In the Saving “WORK” of Christ.

    Since I do not deny repentance precedes justification, your objection is unwarranted. It is further unwarranted under the wider meaning of the term “regeneration.” Even under the narrow meaing of the term, your objection is still unwarranted, since it is regeneration that gives rise to faith and repentance through the effectual call and the relation is merely causal and not temporal. Men do not repent from a state of nature. That, ironically, would make faith a “work.” If this is what you affirm then you have moved justification from the category of mercy to remunerative justice. Such is the beginning of salvation by merit, and faith is made into a work.

  8. Allan Says:

    First – I was only refering to true repentence not external temporal (false) repentence. I also never stated that regarding repentence there was not false repentence. I, however was dealing with true repentence as it deals with being born again before you are repentent. If I was unclear, my appologies.

    When I stated Quote: There is no place in scripture that makes the statement there was any other type of repentence before Christ other than temporal.

    Before Christ all repentence was temporal which is why they needed to continue in sacrifices. They were not regenerate/born-again through repentence, so the best they could do was keep repenting. If it doesn’t make sense let me know I will explain.

    Quote “This judgment comes because they rejected John the Baptist and the miracles Jesus had done. The focus is corporate, not individual.”

    I disagree, and think it is both corporate (as the whole) and individual (that which makes up the whole) they are intrinsic. Do you believe that a whole city can not come to a saving knowledge of Christ and repent. We see example of this in the great Awakenings. This is refering to salvic repentence which is why He is declaring the “woe” or “verdict” on the cities. The very fact He uses pagan cities to show the extent of the judgement against them to me exemplary proof that what is addressed is salvic repentence. WHy? Because Jesus states if the miracles that had been done in you (covent cities) had been done in them (pagan cities) They would have repented. You are right in stating the miracles Jesus did established who He was, not to mention the prophets and the scriptures that foretold who He was and what He was here to do. They (covnent cities) were without excuse concerning their unrepentent heart, if with much less the pagan cities “WOULD” have repented. Jesus was not talking about a false, external or temporal repentence for that would be meaningless since they will be judged eternally on their unrepentent heart, it is salvic repentence.

    Quote: “In fact, Allan, the very fact that these Jewish cities had all of those benefits plus Jesus coming among them is evidence that God must draw men effectually to Himself, which is, for all intents and purposes, what the next pericope teaches.”

    I completely disagree about the effectually drawing. As I stated Jesus proclaimed that “THEY” (pagan cities) WOULD HAVE REPENTED if these miracles were done in them like they were done in you (covnent cities) obvious paraphrase toward the end. It was not just some tossed out phrase by Jesus becuase it is “the” evidence against the cities to which God’s gracious calling went out and they rejected it. Efficiency and irresistablility apparently are denied.

    Quote:
    “Why does one repent and not the other? You were asked this, why did you not answer? It strikes me that you’re avoiding this like the plague”

    Actually I have walked amoung those with a plague, loving and praying for them, so plagues don’t bother me much and your question was never asked previously that I saw. In answer though: According to you: God makes them choose Himself. According to me: Pride vs Submission. And Keep the whole libertain freewill *stuff* to a minimum. I do not hold the the libertarian freewill point of view. Man can not save himself nor seek God. God must seek Him and reveal truth to him. Is the revealing of truth man then has a choice to accept God gracious gift. Salvation does not start with man and does not end with man. The fact he can now choose due to Gods drawing does not give him any glory to himself. It all still falls to God the Father.

    Qualifier: TRUE repentence is ALWAYS depicted with salvation. I have to go home from work. I will attend to the rest after a bit night shift is hard that way.

  9. Gene Says:

    Quote: Before Christ all repentence was temporal which is why they needed to continue in sacrifices. They were not regenerate/born-again through repentence, so the best they could do was keep repenting. If it doesn’t make sense let me know I will explain.

    Again, false. In Ezekiel 18:31 the people were commanded to “make yourselves a new heart and a new spirit. David calls on the Lord to create a clean heart in him in Ps. 51:10. Earlier you said that men could not be saved without the Holy Spirit. Paul himself tells us that Abraham was justified by faith as does Genesis, and he uses this as the paradigm for the way we are justified. So, by your own yardstick, they must have been born again in the OT in order to be justified. See also: Psa. 3 7:3 1; 40:8; Isa. 57:7, I Pet. 1: 11; 1 Cor. 10:4

    There is no essential difference between the Holy Spirit’s operation is this respect then and now, except to the degree, explanation, clarity, and extent.

    Wow. You are, apparently, laboring under some serious dispensational errors. That position is straight from classical dispensationalism. This may also be due to your conflation of “regeneration” and “indwelling.”

    You don’t even have to be a CT Calvinist or NCT Calvinist to refute it. Even Bob Wilkin and the non-Calvinist progressive dispy’s believe in regeneration in the OT.

    See: http://www.monergism.com/thethreshold/articles/onsite/OTregeneration.html

    http://www.monergism.com/thethreshold/articles/questions/John3Q.html

    http://www.faithalone.org/news/y2004/wilkin2.html

    http://64.233.161.104/custom?q=cache:aoUC2zKR67MJ:www.graceonlinelibrary.org/
    articles/full.asp%3Fid%3D13%257C20%257C581+Regeneration+in+the+Old+Testament&hl=
    en&gl=us&ct=clnk&cd=5&ie=UTF-8

    http://charleswelty.net/salvation3.htm

    Quote: Do you believe that a whole city can not come to a saving knowledge of Christ and repent. We see example of this in the great Awakenings

    The Second Great Awakening in particular is replete with examples of false repentance. Finney himself admitted that nearly all of his “converts” fell away. You’ve now made my point for me. It does not follow that a corporate reference means “everybody without exception.” The entire generation of the Exile was pronounced apostate by the prophets. Such a way of expressing and setting forth the severer punishment of others, by that of Sodom, is not unusual in the Old Testament; see La 4:6.

    The fact that God visits judgment on entire nations or people-groups or cities or regions does not, of itself, imply that God is exacting retribution on every individual victim. It is not necessarily a reflection on the moral status of every individual swept up in the catastrophe. The same is true with respect to repentance.
    For example, both the Assyrian deportation and the Babylonian exile were instances of corporate divine judgment. Yet there were pious Jews who suffered as a consequence of national apostasy. That’s why this is not about individual salvation as such, and that is where concepts of “regeneration, effectuality,” etc.come into play.. You’re making the text say far more than it actually says in order to dispute notions with which you disagree. The orientation is corporate, and it employs OT and rabbincal sayings (comparisons to Sodom, Tyre and Sidon, etc.) in order to do this.

    Quote: As I stated Jesus proclaimed that “THEY” (pagan cities) WOULD HAVE REPENTED if these miracles were done in them like they were done in you (covnent cities) obvious paraphrase toward the end. It was not just some tossed out phrase by Jesus becuase it is “the” evidence against the cities to which God’s gracious calling went out and they rejected it. Efficiency and irresistablility apparently are denied.

    A. Neither of those concepts are in the immediate text to be denied or affirmed here. This is a classic example of the general call being rejected. Nobody denies that men resist the general call.
    B. The effectual call is the general call made effectual by the Holy Spirit through regeneration. It is individual, not corporate. If it is corporate, it is because all the individuals in the group receive it as individuals.
    C. Men have a duty to repent regardless of whether or not they receive an internal call.
    D. I have already disabused your notions that men cannot be held responsible for what they cannot do.

    Quote: Jesus was not talking about a false, external or temporal repentence for that would be meaningless since they will be judged eternally on their unrepentent heart, it is salvic repentence.

    A. Very well. Then we see that Capernaum is mentioned. What is the reason given for their unbelief in John 6? Why are their hearts unrepentant? This text in Matthew, just like the one in John 6 talks about God and Christ hiding truth from some and granting it to others. But that, I assume you think, would mean that God is to blame. False, as I have explained multiple times, that conflates a necessary and a sufficient condition, and overlooks the fact that God under no obligation to grant repentance to some and not others, because those passed over are condemned sinners.

    B. As I have explained to you mutliple times already, this is a prophetic woe. It is fulfilled in the destruction of these cities. They are laid waste. “Eternal judgment” may or may or may not be in view. For Capernaum it is in view in a specific manner that falls under a specific OT form. Tyre itself is still standing. Like most of the prophets, the woe is a verdict that will lead to the physical destruction of these cities. Temporal irrepentance as well as “salvific” irrepentance merits temporal judgment or eternal judgment. Their temporal judgment is the destruction of their ciites. Their eternal punishment is the degree of punishment for their rejection. They had the most revelation compared to Sodom. They are therefore worthy of greater judgment. Such a way of expressing and setting forth the severer punishment of others, by that of Sodom, is not unusual in the Old Testament; see La 4:6. Degrees of punishment are not incompatible with Reformed theology. Likewise, Tyre and Sidon “would have repented,” that is, if they had seen the amount of material that these cities had seen, they would have repented. Why would they have done so? They were pagans, and had less revelation. So we have covenant cities with the maximum amount of revelation not repenting. We have pagan cities with virtually none. Why would one repent and not the other? Well, let’s see. The covenant cities have been hardened and blinded by the mercy of God for several centuries. This is perfectly commensurate with what Jesus says about Capernaum in John 6 and what Isaiah writes in Isa. 6. These others had less revelation and were not as hard. But they were still unregenerate. The hardness of the covenant peoples increased their guilt, and God is not responsible for it. Capernaum was especially guilty, it was the most favored spot upon earth, the most exalted in privilege. God is under no obligation to grant them repentance; in fact, He is, according to the terms of the Mosaic Covenant in Deut. and its curses, under more obligation to destroy them and leave them in their sins and harden them even more than here than He is to save them. So, we turn to Tyre and Sidon. They are out of the covenant, without hope, cut off from God, and worthy of extermination too. However, they would repent. So, we are still left to ask, why would they repent salvifically as you say, being so hardened by their lack of revelation? The answer is: God grants to one and not the other. He hides it from these “adults” (the covenant cities with centuries of benefits) and gives it to “babes,” these others with no benefits at all, which is, in point of fact, what happens after Pentecost.

    C. The parallel text of Luke puts the return of the 70 after this, where Jesus is rejoicing over the subjection of the devils and diseases to them. Then he turns to the disciples and explains what He is saying to them. So we see here visible examples of Christ disclosing some truths from others and giving it to still others. So, there’s your answer for why one repents and not another. In substance, its the same as John 5:21, John 6:44-45, and John 6:65.

    D. Speaking of Tyre and Sidon, Jesus’ woe here anticipates the spread of the church. Tyre and Sidon did actually repent when “these works” were done there. In fact, the word of God spread among them when Herod was struck dead in Acts. 12. In Acts 27, they stopped in Sidon and Paul was allowed to go to his friends there. So it appears they had a church. So, we must ask, why did they repent? According to you it is because they were not as proud. Or maybe here you’ll say it is because they were afraid. So they were more humble or more afraid. God saves those who are most humble and most afraid. So you believe humility and fear merits salvation and that God plays favorites. Something intrinsic to those persons, not the grace of God, is what leads to their salvation.

    E. From Gill: These words are to be understood in a popular sense, as Grotius observes, and express what was probable, according to an human judgment of things; and the meaning is, that if the inhabitants of Tyre and Sidon had had the advantages of Christ’s ministry, and of seeing his miracles, as the inhabitants of Chorazin and Bethsaida had, it looks very likely, or one would be ready to conclude, especially from many coming out of these parts, to attend on Christ’s ministry, Mr 3:8 and from the conversion of some of them in after times, Ac 21:3 they would have repented of their sins; at least, in an external way, signified by sackcloth and ashes, which were outward signs of repentance; see Isa 58:5. And which, if it had been only performed in such a manner by the inhabitants of Chorazin and Bethsaida, would have saved them from temporal judgments, which their sins now called for. The words are an hyperbolical exaggeration of the wickedness of those cities, like to Eze 3:5 showing, that they were worse than the Tyrians and Sidonians; an Heathenish and idolatrous people, who lived very profligate and dissolute lives, in all intemperance, luxury, and impiety; and therefore would be punished in a severer way: neither this passage, nor what follows, can be any proof of God’s giving sufficient grace to all men alike, which in some is effectual to conversion, and in others not, but of the contrary; since the men of Tyre and Sidon had not the same means, or the same grace, as the inhabitants of the other cities, if the mighty works done among them are to be called so; or that man has a power to repent of himself, in a spiritual and evangelical way; or that outward means, as doctrines and miracles, are sufficient to produce such a repentance, without efficacious and unfrustrable grace; since only an outward repentance is here supposed, such as that of Ahab, and of the Ninevites.

    Quote: God makes them choose Himself.

    What does this mean in Reformed Theology? It means that God raises them to spiritual life and they believe, because without this they are morally unable because they hate God. Their renewed nature results in their willingness. God does not force them to anything. Such an objection implies that they could choose on their own without God “making” them do so. That is contracausal freedom, the very thing you will here deny..

    Quote: According to me: Pride vs Submission.

    So one is less proud and more submissive than another. That’s the regressive fallacy. Why is one man less proud and more submissive than the other?

    Quote: And Keep the whole libertain freewill *stuff* to a minimum. I do not hold the the libertarian freewill point of view.

    If you do not affirm effectual calling, you hold to contracausal freedom. That is your only logical alternative. That is libertarian action theory.

    Quote: Man can not save himself nor seek God.

    Who denies this?

    Quote: God must seek Him and reveal truth to him.

    Nobody denies this.

    Quote: Is the revealing of truth man then has a choice to accept God gracious gift.

    Why does one my accept that truth and not another?

    Quote: Salvation does not start with man and does not end with man. The fact he can now choose due to Gods drawing does not give him any glory to himself. It all still falls to God the Father.

    Not if man has the final say. Your conclusion is a non-sequitur. It does not follow from the premise, because your unstated assumption is that man can resist this drawing. Ergo, man improves on the grace given to him. This is utterly unavoidable for you. You affirm that God saves those who believe and repent, yet you also believe that man has the final say. You believe that one believes and not another because one is less proud and more submissive to God. Why is one less proud and more submissive than the other? You are still not answering the question put to you.

    One more word, Allan (and for other commenters). SBF is not a discussion board. It is a blog. If you have issues with the material in the articles here that cannot be addressed and that, for all intents and purposes involve either you or I writing articles in the comment sections, then perhaps it would be better for you to craft your objections into a blog post for yourself and then draw my/our attention to it. I have other articles to publish, and I do not have the time or the energy to write lengthy responses to you and engage in discussions more suitable to the Baptistboard than a blog every time I write something with which you disagree.

    Commenters are free to discuss amongst themselves ad infinitum as far as I am concerned. However, please remember that we have other articles to post. I’ve already told you that some of what you stated in your first objection with respect to the concomitance of repentance and regeneration will be addressed shortly. If you noticed, the title of this article is PART ONE. Part Two will address definitions in dogmatic theology. I cannot post that material if I am responding to your comments ad infinitum here. At present this article has morphed into a thread that is quite far off from Sam’s original article. Thus far, you have not shown that repentance is logically and causally prior to faith. It is up to you to craft an argument to the contrary and write an article to which one or some of us can respond.

  10. Allan Says:

    I understand you have blogs to write. But let us not for get, I commented on the initial blog. ( BTW it is obvious I don’t hold to Bobs views either) You, brother Gene then wrote a refutation with the starting arguement of “How absurd”. I needed to clarify my position, and then you wrote another ‘lengthy’ disputation to it. Therein began the whole over active blogging on ‘our’ part. I agree, and do not want to take up all the space as this can go on for quite some time. Just a note though Gene. It would be better on these blog boards to ‘try’ (though not always easy) to see where they (those who disagree with you) are coming from and THEN begin to move from where they are into (by process) what you believe. Jesus did this by starting with the natural and then moving them into understanding of the spiritual. I am not great at this but with your knowledge it would be an asset to this site, I believe. Your whole idea of logic is based solely on your perspective. So to state something is an illogical conclusion must by definition must be shown to be so in point of view of ALL parties. I actually enjoy your writing (though don’t always agree) but this would help show other (like myself) WHY you beleive HOW you do, for the comment boxes. But as you say it needs best be at a minimun. I will leave off here then with the rest of my differences regarding scripture on the text for the other blogger to enjoy as well. But in either case, To God be the Glory

  11. Gene Says:

    So to state something is an illogical conclusion must by definition must be shown to be so in point of view of ALL parties.

    Yet again, false. All that needs to shown is that your conclusion does not follow from the premise or that you have conflated the properties of one domain with the properties of another. Consensus is unnecessary to state that something is a logical conclusion.

    Actually, Allan, I have listed your logical fallacies for you. I’ve told you where your category errors, self-defeating statements and nonsequiturs have been located and exactly what they are. I know very well where you stand. You’ve made it abundantly clear that you affirm that moral responsibility is grounded in ability. You’ve stated that you affirm that persons believe because they are less proud and more submissive, not because of the grace of God. You’ve asserted that statements about the general call in this text are relevant to the concepts of regeneration, effacious drawing etc., you’ve not produced any exegesis of this text on your own, while I have even come back with commentary information, that, is not only from a Reformed viewpoint but from non-Reformed sources, and you’ve conflating indwelling and regeneration and stated that regeneration did not happen in the OT. These are numerous errors on your part.

    Rather than defending your integrity, what you need to do is produce an argument that shows that regeneration does not precede faith. Let’s not forget, I’ve answered each of your objections, and it has taken several posts to get you to answer the question, “Why does one person believe and not the other.” When you did you, committed the regressive fallacy. Saying “pride and submission” only pushes the question back one step. Why are some less pround and more submissive than others? You’ve stated that God draws all men without exception, and you’ve left men with “a choice.” So, why does one man choose and not the other. Why would Tyre and Sidon repent and not Capernaum. I’ve answered these questions. You have not.

  12. Allan Says:

    Gene, with Love brother, you can’t seem to let go. I state I will abate due to your request, but you conitue with even more contentious remarks trying to bate me back. I give you praise, and you try for one last smack. I find that almost humorous. And NO you do not know very well where I stand. Actually you stand on shaky ground. I DO NOT believe a man comes to Christ because one is more proud and one more submissive,YOU SAID THAT by conjecture. You also state I believe that it is NOT because of the Grace of God – Gene that is lie – for I never stated or insinuted as such. It is only and always the grace of God that draws, for without it no man can come to repentence. Actually I did answer on the text regarding repentence is before salvation using your own statement. YOu stated the passage I quoted was really about the covenent lawsuit and Jesus was bring a verdict. I stated Yes, and in the suit Jesus himself brings to bare, is the very evidence that condems them – that if these were done in Tyre and Sidon… THEY WOULD HAVE REPENTED.. THat was the evidence that condemed the covenentt cities, but what I was also stating was They would have repented without God having to give it to them. OF course the Jews were not to be allowed (granted is not the right word to be used) repentence at that time because scripture must be fulfilled. WHo is denfending their intregrity, I am trying to civily speak with you. The answer you gave many believers and educator and scholars do not agree with (concerning born agin before repentence). Granted they do not dictate scripture but we do know that the Holy Spirit is ONLY one who opens the scriptures to our understanding. And I find it hard to believe He has revealed such knowledge to a few. I stated Pride and submission as the culmination of choice. However, the question itself is a set up to bring in Clavinism. Kinda like the 5th question in the F.A.I.T.H. Outline – In your personal opinion what do you understands it takes for a person to go to heaven? It is desinged for a one sided argument. A better question is why would God choose one man over another? Especially if God is all powerful, and all knowing and COULD save all, but instead only chose some due to His soveriengty, rather than all due to His Love. You forget that His love and Justice are just as absolute as His soveriegnty. If He CAN save All (meaning all) for Loves sake and will not for Soveriegnty sake but only save some, Then in the eyes of His own Justice He is accountable. For He had both abililty and responsibility to His creation to save all even after they sinned. How was He held responsible to man after he (man) sinned. Because He created man in Love not soveriegnty. His Love defines His soveriegnty, and both are dilineated by His Justice. All three seperate yet all three work as one. Yes you will disagree but that is what is great about Christ brotherhood. So again let us back off and let others enjoy the blog as you stated earlier. Peace is Yours in Christ Gene, so is the victory over the death and the world. – Amen

  13. Allan Says:

    P.S. after re-reading it – Shaky ground is where you refer to knowing me.

  14. Allan Says:

    LASTLY AND MOST SERIOUSLY GENE

    I just want to ask One serious question. Present discussion aside completely. PLEASE HEAR ME ON THIS. This question will help [me] in all honesty look at Calvinism more seriously (meaning reviewing my own beliefs), If you will grant me this one request.
    I give my word to seriously look into your writing on it and reflect seriously concerning it.

    Question? Why would Jesus have to hide/conseal the message (through parables and hard sayings, ext.) from the people, if not one person beyond those elected will be saved? Why could He (Jesus) not proclaim the truth since God WOULD NOT and WILL NOT give any repentence much less understanding, to those who have not been previously chosen? Why would the truth need to be hid at all?

    (It is actually one question in many forms but it is the best I can do to have it make sence)

  15. Gene Says:

    Quote: I DO NOT believe a man comes to Christ because one is more proud and one more submissive,YOU SAID THAT by conjecture.

    No, Allan, when asked why one believes and another does not, you stated,

    According to you: God makes them choose Himself. According to me: Pride vs Submission.

    God is not effectually drawing them. You denied this when you stated that effectuality is denied in this text. So we are left with: One is less proud and more submissive than the other. If this is not what you meant, then you should have stated what you meant clearly. I can only peg my responses to what you reveal when you write. If this is not what you meant, then please forgive my failing powers of clairvoyance.

    Rather than dancing around the questions put to you, answer them. Why, Allan, does one person believe and not another? Yes, we know you believe in prevenient grace. Why does one person make that choice and not the other, after having received that grace?

    Quote: You also state I believe that it is NOT because of the Grace of God – Gene that is lie – for I never stated or insinuted as such

    You stated: God must seek Him and reveal truth to him. Is the revealing of truth man then has a choice to accept God gracious gift. Salvation does not start with man and does not end with man. The fact he can now choose due to Gods drawing does not give him any glory to himself.

    This is stated as part of a denial of effectual calling. It is an affirmation of prevenient grace. Pay attention, Allan. This leaves the will of man to make the choice, and you have elsewhere on this blog and in this very post, denied is effectually drawn. So, you DO deny the grace of God, because you leave it up to man to improve on the grace given. Persons do not believe because of God’s grace, it is because they improve on God’s grace. Ergo, your conclusion was a nonsequitur. It does not follow from your stated premises.

    With respect to theologians disagreeing over whether or not regeneration precedes faith, I fear you are grossly mistaken. The majority of the church has always understood that regeneration precedes faith. The AnteNicene Church affirmed this. Those who, from the Middle Ages forward, believed in infant baptism and baptismal regeneration have always affirmed this. The Lutherans affirm this and say you can fall from its grace. The Reformed churches have afffirmed this but denied you can fall out of its grace, while denying baptismal regeneration; and the majority of Baptist churches affirmed this prior to the early 20th century. The affirmation that repentance precedes regeneration is a new invention within the overall scope of historical theology.

    Quote: It is only and always the grace of God that draws, for without it no man can come to repentence

    That drawing consists, according you, in them being given a choice. I agree. However, you deny effectuality. So why does one choose and not the other? Your answer was “Pride vs.Submission” not “God’s grace.”

    Quote: I stated Yes, and in the suit Jesus himself brings to bare, is the very evidence that condems them – that if these were done in Tyre and Sidon… THEY WOULD HAVE REPENTED.. THat was the evidence that condemed the covenentt cities,

    No, the evidence that is brought to bare is their rejection of Him. The comparison is just a standard OT woe formula, relating the degree of their culpability before God compared to pagans, not a definitive prophecy of what would have happened in another reality. You’re turning this into a statement about what would have happened in the real world; this is a figure of speech that is common in the OT, when, for example, Judah is compared to Sodom. You’re focusing the text on Sodom, Tyre and Sidon, not Capernaum, Chorazin, and Bethsaida.

    As I stated before, why would those other cities have repented? What would have caused them to differ? The very fact that of this contrast is proof of the necessity of effectual calling. We have 2000 years of covenant peoples being hard and we have pagans living in luxury and debauchery being just as hard, yet the latter, not the former would have repented. Why? The next pericope answers: Because God has hidden from adults and given to babes. So, the reason is that God would have granted something to these others cities and not these. Effectual calling is a necessity for the Jew, because of His hardness and apathy to his cultural religion. It is necessary for the pagan, because of his ignorance of the Law and gospel and his cultural irreligion. God is just in keeping the gospel from either party. He gives it to one and not the other. Okay, so why does any one individual then believe and repent?

    Quote: but what I was also stating was They would have repented without God having to give it to them.

    Except of course, this is not in the text, which you continue to divorce from the rest of Matt. 11 and from Luke 10 and John 6. In fact just the opposite is true. For, if these things had happened in those cities, then God would be setting up or confirming His covenant with them. That presumes election. That would mean that God would be giving repentance to them in order for them to enter that covenant as individuals; that presumes effectual calling. It would mean He would be granting to babes what was hidden from adults.

    Quote: I stated Pride and submission as the culmination of choice. However, the question itself is a set up to bring in Clavinism.

    Ah, so now you come back with armloads of caveats not in your original. You and I have dialogued very little in the past, Allan, so I’ll say this clearly. You need to state with clarity what you mean. I do not suffer the incoherence of others. My personality is the rough equivalent of that of Steve Hays at Triablogue. This is not what you stated above. You simply stated, “pride and submission.” If you deny effectual calling, but affirm that God’s grace enables man to choose somehow, then why do two persons under the same grace, make different choices? One repents and not the other. What causes them to differ?

    Quote: A better question is why would God choose one man over another? Especially if God is all powerful, and all knowing and COULD save all, but instead only chose some due to His soveriengty, rather than all due to His Love.

    A. Calvinism does not teach that God’s sovereignty in election is divorced from His love. In fact the opposite is true, per the meaning of the word “foreknow” in texts like Romans 8:29 and elsewhere. Election is sovereignly dispensed, but is set in the context of God’s covenants. God elects to make a covenant with particular persons. That in turn presumes His mercy and His mercy presumes His love.

    B. Let’s apply this. The answer, strictly speaking, to your question is “:Because of His great name. Deut. 7 and 1 Sam. 12 answer this. God’s answer is “according to (my) good pleasure” and “in love” (Eph. 1: 3-5). So, we see that God’s answer is, “Because of my great name.” Why does God love one person more than another such that He chooses them for salvation? The answer is in His name: I AM that I AM. I love you because I love you. I AM THAT I AM is the meaing of “Yahve” in the OT. That is always God’s coveant name.

    Quote: Then in the eyes of His own Justice He is accountable. For He had both abililty and responsibility to His creation to save all even after they sinned. How was He held responsible to man after he (man) sinned. Because He created man in Love not soveriegnty. His Love defines His soveriegnty, and both are dilineated by His Justice.

    More incoherence.

    A. No, God is responsible. You’ve now conflated responsiblity and blame, probably because you don’t understand their relation. Responsibility is a necessary but insufficient condition for blame. You’re right to point to His lack of motive to do evil, but that does not translate into absolution for responsibility. He is responsible, but not to blame. Moral blame requires a moral motive.

    B. You’ve, it seems, also set up a competition between God’s justice and God’s love and sovereignty, as if one is controlling over the others. This is very confusing as it is incoherent. In terms of the attributes of God, the controlling attribute would be His asciety/independence and the other incommunicable attributes of God. Are you saying that God is unjust if God chooses one person over another? How? Nobody has a just claim on the mercy of God.

    Now, this is what you really want to know. This is a good question.

    Quote: Why would Jesus have to hide/conseal the message (through parables and hard sayings, ext.) from the people, if not one person beyond those elected will be saved?

    It’s not a question of why He would do this. Scripture says explicitly that He actually did this. So, before asking why, you need to admit that He did it.

    When he was alone, those who were around him along with the twelve asked him about the parables. And he said to them, “To you has been given the secret of the kingdom of God, but for those outside, everything comes in parables; in order that ‘they may indeed look, but not perceive, and may indeed listen, but not understand; so that they may not turn again and be forgiven.'” (Mark 4:10-12)

    Notice to whom the Sermon on the Mount is actually directed in Matt. 5:1-2. Read the rest of the Sermon. The whole shebang isn’t for the multitude. A good bit is directed to the disciples only in particular.

    Quote: Why could He (Jesus) not proclaim the truth since God WOULD NOT and WILL NOT give any repentence much less understanding, to those who have not been previously chosen? Why would the truth need to be hid at all?

    To start with, it is hidden in a particular way. It is in the open. The best place to hide. What is kept from them is the explanation of much, and the grace to apprehend what is sometimes explained. Those who do apprehend the truth are those who hear and learn from the Father and they come to Jesus and are not cast out ever. Ergo, those that hear come, because they are drawn. Those who do not, do not do so, because they are not drawn. The preaching is universal, but the apprehension of it and its very content is often in plain sight.

    Why do this when some are chosen and others are not? Why would this be necessary?

    As in the OT instances of corporate punishment, for example, both the Assyrian deportation and the Babylonian exile, there were pious Jews who suffered as a consequence of national apostasy. So, to answer your question, He does this the way a vinekeeper examines fruit. He’s looking for faith in the nation. In finding the handful of pious Jews, and He finds those who were chosen beforehand to be given repentance and understanding, and they are living among those people who are not being granted repentance. In the Exile generation, they were swept away. The implication here is that this time, God will keep the pious ones in the land so to speak, while this time, while sweeping away the rest in exile.

    So, the public message has a dual effect then, the same as it does today: it effectually draws the elect and the rest are confirmed in their wickedness. .This is largely the same reason that it was hidden in Isaiah 6. It confirms that other group in their judgment. I reveals their sinfulness. Men should, because of the image of God in them, repent of their sins and turn to Christ apart from effectual calling. However, they are so in love with their sin, that they won’t do so. That is why effectual calling is necessary, and that is why God’s mercy is said to harden. God would not have to effectually draw if men weren’t so morally in love with their evil and bent on suppressing the image of God in them.

    Christ is, here, in Matthew, depicted as the Prophet after the type of Moses. He is bringing a lawsuit. They had centuries of revelation, more than any other people in history, and still they had apostatized. Instead of antinomianism (like the Exiled generation) they had apostatized into legalism. It is hidden for the same reason that apostates are hardened yet they are still allowed to hear the truth. The fact that they do not repent is proof of the hardness of their hearts. God hardens through His mercy expressed in the parables, the miracles, and the explanations of the parables to some. Their reaction proves that the hiding of the truth is a valid judgment. They should have at least demonstrated some sort of genuine recognition of who Christ was and comply with their duty under the covenant, yet they wouldn’t. They were more concerned with having their bellies filled than following Christ. When Christ confronted them with the truths of John 6, they walked away. God rejected this entire generation except for a very few, and at the time Jesus was among them, they hid because they would have been put out of the synagogues. Read John 12:37 -43. Here John quotes Isa. 6.

    Now, as to the trajectory of the lawsuit, this is what is going on here: Christ comes to establish the church, not save the nation of Israel. All that He does is telescoped into that overriding purpose. He is coming to inaugurate a New Covenant by bringing the Old to its termination. The Old Covenant terminates in a verdict on apostasy and then an new is instituted in Christ’s work. The New will include Gentiles and Jews, but more Gentiles than Jews, in accordance with Noah’s predictions at the end of Genesis 9, where Japet is to conquer the tents of Shem, where Ham is also serviing. In doing so, he and his brothers will live in these tents (a figure of the covenant) and find Yahve, Shem’s God there (Yahve is named in that text as Shem’s God).. The members of the New Covenant are all elected individually. God is not elected categories that have no defined occupants. He elects each person to fill those categories. That means that there is an effectual call.

    A verdict presumes a lawsuit. In the OT, from the time of the Garden, lawsuits followed a particular pattern: God comes Himself or in a prophet (Christ, the God-man is both), He observes, interviews, and then renders His verdict. In the interview phase God moves from the created order (the serpent) to Eve (who had less responsibility than Adam) to Adam (the leader). That same pattern is repeated in the covenant lawsuits of the OT. That’s the trajectory of Jesus’ ministry in Matthew from about the time John the Baptist dies. He restates the Law (that’s the Sermon on the Mount), then He sets about doing some miracles to confirm the Law He gave, again a common OT pattern, and then John is killed. He takes up a woe against the cities, and then the lawsuit proceeds until the end of Matthew when, after having examined the fruit of the vineyard, Israel, He enters the Temple and has His final confrontation before His trial with their leaders. Their iniquisiton of Him is a reversal of fortunes, where He is the one interviewing them. Then we get the fig tree as an illustration. He curses it, and thus we have the verdict rendered on Israel. Very few believe during Jesus ministry. The vast majority turn away, and the reason Jesus gives in John 6 for this is that it is not granted to them to believe.. Just enough are drawn to constitute the first church. Jews are then saved through the work of the Apostles, to whom He had been explaining His teachings for 3 years, and the church, but what does Paul say in Romans 9? They are being increasingly hardened.The church begins with those in the Upper Room, it spreads through the city of Jerusalem, but it relatively quickly dies out among the Jews. In 62 ad, they killed James the Just. In 66, the church moved to Pella under Simeon. In 70 AD God made good on the verdict and destroyed the Temple. This signals the utter rejection of that generation, just as it did in the Exile. As I poined out before, however, some pious Jews are in that generation, the Christians. By 135, the Gentiles had come to run the Jerusalem church, and the mother church that had moved to Pella had fallen into major heresy and then disappeared shortly thereafter. Ever since, the Jews as a people have remained, with a few exceptions, largely hardened. Only in the last days will national Israel in some manner be saved.

  16. Allan Says:

    😉

  17. Allan Says:

    Ok maybe you talked over my head or I missed it.

    I DO admit God hid the truth from many but only told it to some.

    I just would like to know why Jesus could not speak openly concerning spiritual things, if God would not grant them enlightment or repentence.
    Why was the gospel hid? It wouldn’t (I assume) matter to God if the rest of the world came and Temporally repented even for selfish reasons, since ONLY the chosen would truely understand what Jesus said anyway. That is why I ask, Why did it HAVE to be HID? As I said, we see scripture state it was so. SO the question is, WHY? Why not tell the whole world the truth, if only the elect will truly respond is a saving way.

  18. Gene Says:

    Quote: I just would like to know why Jesus could not speak openly concerning spiritual things, if God would not grant them enlightment or repentence.

    I have answered this question already, but here I’ll try to clarify.

    In addition, to the above answer, their response was to walk away whenever He did speak clearly, not come to Him. Now, if they really wanted to know the truth, then why did they not follow Him to learn it after seeing the miracles? In addition, read Isa. 6. Why does God commission Isaiah to call the nation to repent and then immediately tell him that He is going to use that message to blind them? Christ behaves in such a way for the very same reasons. The people should not have had to be spoken to plainly. They had 2000 years of revelation and more cultural religion than you and I can imagine. They are remarkably like Adam in the Garden. In fact, they are, in terms of the whole Bible, recapitulating the events of Fall.

    They were literate people. They could read the Scriptures. They memorized long portions of it. Prayer occupied hours of the day. They had the sacrifices, the feasts, and the Law all around them. He spoke in terms they could understand with their ears if they would just follow the imagery. The very words Jesus uses pick up on images from the OT, images they should have known. Take the bread of life discourse. Bread, like food, is a common OT image. It was involved with sacrifices. “The bread of life” should connect one to the offerings under the sacrificial system that involved grain, not to mention the miracle He’d just performed. The water of life is a common OT image, going back to the Garden of Eden with the rivers, as well as the wells and cisterns. It’s also in the Psalms.. In John 6, Jesus is talking about bread, and they get confused. So, he’s plainer, and talks about giving, coming, drawing, etc. They murmur, so He’s even more plain with them, and they walk away. Only the disciples remain.

    Let me point out that I know many Jews today. They tell you, point blank, that the Scriptures are a closed book to them. That’s why they depend so much on their rabbis. In fact, rabbinical Judaism today was in its infancy in the first century. The point here is that, they should know these things. When one is converted today, they can’t believe they didn’t see these things plainly. So, we, like Tyre and Sidon are, in our ignorance able to see much more clearly it seems, then the Jews. That’s why Tyre and Sidone would have repented. Both are equally condemned (Capernaum and Tyre) but, compared to each other, the pagans gave God less reason to blind them and more reason to grant them mercy and repentance, because His covenant people, who had no excuse like Adam had no excuse in the Garden, had rejected Christ. In fact, that’s exactly what God does after the church as we know it begins @ Pentecost.

    So, what He does is hide the truth in plain sight. He does not speak plainly to them the way He does to the disciplies (and remember, by far the majority of what is recorded of His sayings involve the disciples), because they don’t deserve to be spoken to plainly the longer He’s with them. The more He says the less they understand and the more He feeds them, for example, the more they follow Him for the food and the miracle sideshow, not the right reasons.

    The disciples don’t deserve plain truth either, but He, unlike with them goes out of His way to explain Himself to them. That’s because they will be His instrument to spread the New Covenant. It’s also a funciton of God’s mercy to them. On the other hand, all of that explanation makes Judas even more guilty when He betrays Christ. He was predestined for it, but God did not put evil in His heart. He was a devil already.

    Yet, He does not ignore the people. On the contrary, He hides His teaching’s meaning in the very language by which the prophets and others had communicated with them centuries before and which was recorded in the Scriptures, which they knew very well. He uses rabbinic sayings (John 6:45 is a very common rabbinic saying). He does miracles. That should have been enough for them to say, “I don’t understand his message, but his miracles can only be from God. I should follow him to find out more about his message.” People can do that much, and they still do. That’s a classic example of those who take an interest and then fall away. When people did do that much, Jesus was as plain with them as with the disciples, and most of them still walk away from Him. So, on the one hand, the one message becomes an effectual call to the elect of that day as it does today, while it is the very cause of hardening to the rest. So, we have a classic example of this from the Second London Confession:

    As for those wicked and ungodly men whom God, as the righteous judge, for former sin doth blind and harden; from them he not only withholdeth his grace, whereby they might have been enlightened in their understanding, and wrought upon their hearts; but sometimes also withdraweth the gifts which they had, and exposeth them to such objects as their corruption makes occasion of sin; and withal, gives them over to their own lusts, the temptations of the world, and the power of Satan, whereby it comes to pass that they harden themselves, under those means which God useth for the softening of others.

    God decrees the ends and the means. The means it seems, for the hardening of these persons was for Jesus to teach in the way He taught. Ever communicate with an apostate? I mean a real live one like we do at Triablogue? Head over there or to the Debunking Christianity blog. These are people who say that they grew up in church and with cultural Christianity. Okay, no problem. Some went to seminary. Okay, no problem. Now, read carefully and see how utterly unable they are to understand Scripture. They can’t hold fast to the truth, but God has now so blinded them, they can’t handle it with basic intellectual ability. It’s not that the Scripture isn’t clear or that there are plenty of commentaries to help. They are just so blind that the very means of grace for salvation to us becomes an instrument of hardening and, in their case, greater and greater blinding of them.

    Quote: Why was the gospel hid? It wouldn’t (I assume) matter to God if the rest of the world came and Temporally repented even for selfish reasons, since ONLY the chosen would truely understand what Jesus said anyway.

    This is a good question. Jesus did not come, in terms of his actual earthly teaching ministry, for “the world,” he came to preach to the covenant people first. THEY were the targets of his ministry. The Apostles take the message to “the world.” A handful of Gentiles do interact with Jesus, but that is the exception, not the rule.

    One reason to hide the truth this way, building on what I’ve already said, is that it’s merciful in a way to do that. Think about it. They had all that knowledge and history with God, yet they did not recognize the signs. Lest we forget, they did know the Messiah would come from Bethlehem. Not only was that just in Scripture, they could tell this to you from the Scriptures. That happens in the opening of Matthew. Now, we know how they reacted when Christ was plain: they walked away. So, in hiding the truth, we have judgment, but in terms of degrees of judgment and punishment, He’s being very merciful. Why? Because Scripture also teaches that to whom much is given much is required. The more you know, the more you are to blame, especially if you are in the covenant people or among their company. They were already under judgment as snnners just like everybody else in history. However, they were also under judgment for the apostasy of the nation from the covenant. God had given Israel relative peace for many years. The Temple was built; they could celebrate the feasts, and yes, there were problems with Zealots, but, relatively speaking, they had peace and could practice their religion freely. However, they are, it seems, acting no better in principle than the pagans. This time, the sins weren’t so much antinominan as they were legalistic. The Exile generation had been antinomian. This generation was so legalistic that they came to think they had no sin.

    If He’d been forthright with everybody, using your premise above about temporary repentance, then God would certainly care, because God is still merciful in His judgment. He’d care in that He’s graciously lessening their degree of punishment and preserving some for the spread of the gospel through the church. Remember, the people are the ones that responded to the gospel among the Jews after the church was founded, and the leaders come in in smalller numbers. So, implicitly, after Christ is ascended, God, in terms of relative judgment and mercy (that comparing one set of people to another) has more reason to effectually draw those that did not respond to Christ when He was here and who had been blinded at that time (because, relative to the others, they were under a lesser degree of judgment) than He does those who had gone after Christ for a time and then walked away or the religious leaders who knew much, much more and who had Him murdered (for their judgment was far greater).

    Ergo, the hiding at this time is both judgment and mercy. Telling them the plain truth gives them less excuse and increases their punishment. Ah, but wouldn’t they have believed? Well, what happened when they came to Jesus one on one? Typically, they walked away. That’s why Jesus talks about drawing, coming, and granting in John 6 and hearing and not hearing in John 8 and elsewhere. Very few believed, and those that did hid themselves for fear of being put out of the synagogues. These are probably those that formed the core of the first Jewish church/es, and these are the ones that “heard and learned from the Father.”

    The overarching reason the gospel is hidden at this time in biblical history (the gospels) is that the day of reckoning has come for the nation. This must come first, before the last covenant could be inaugurated. The coming of the kingdom meant the coming of the king. Christ does judge the people. The eschaton of the Old Covenant itself begins in the NT itself. The NT has its own eschaton. There is some overlap in the OT does prophesy about the final end times too, but in terms of the covenant itself, Jesus ministry is the eschaton, that is the end time of that covenant administration. Judgment precedes the New Covenant era, just as final judgment precedes the finalization of God’s plan for His people (eternity with Him forever, the New Heaven and Earth, etc.)

    That is, in terms of the Jews themselves (the OC people), they had had long enough. They’d rejected all the prophets, including John. Josephus even tells us of a vision of the angelic armies leaving the Temple in the time of Macabees. They were confused about John. Now, God sends Christ. Jesus hides spiritual truth, because His job is to teach the disciples and prepare for the building of a new Temple, the way David prepared for Solomon to do that before he died (2 Chronicles). The focus of Jesus’ ministry then is to bring judgment on the covenant people and inaugurate a New Covenant which would still include Jews, but would effectively open the door to others; in fact, the others would outnumber the Jews this time. In the Old Covenant the reverse had been true. Hiding of the direct explanations of truth except to a handful (who still didn’t get it very well until after the Resurrection, remember), thus lays the foundation of the church the way David collected the raw materials and workers for the temple Solomon would build, and it is also follows the typical OT judgments against Israel in which the people are blinded prior to the exile.

    So, the hiding is a means of judgment. But it’s not as if they are not given any clues at all. The miracles are done in the open, and they are told to repent many times, and the words and stories He uses find their origin in the images and stories of the OT itself, so it can’t be said they weren’t given any light at all. All of this has a central aim: the establishment of a new adminstration of the covenant, this time, the New Covenant, which is open to all kinds of people.

    What mattered to God, at this particular point, was the ending of the Old Covenant to make way for the New This had been his plan since Genesis 3 anyway. Now, in the gospels, it comes to fruition. Remember the parables about the vineyard owner sending his son, etc. The vineyard is an OT prophet’s way of referring to Israel. God has planted the vineyard, trimmed it, etc., and now He has sent Christ to check the fruit. The keepers (the elders and rulers of the people) had killed all the other representatives and of course they kill Christ too. What’s happening here is that to end the covenant, He had to follow His own stipulations for Himself and the people that He had put down in the Law and the Prophets.

    Remember, God has a part in the covenant too, and that includes following His promises and His curses. The Law contains the terms for the judgment of the nation if they apostatized radically. The prophets contain the prophecies of the New Covenant that, in their day, was yet to come. This meant sending Christ to observe the proverbial fruit, as the Prophet greater than Moses, and to do this, He interviews (He conducts multiple interviews), He announces the kingdom has come hiding the plain explanation of much to many and giving much plain explanation to few who still don’t get it anway, and then after finding no substantive reaction except among the pious ones, who are “the elect” anyway, (just as in the days of the exile) Jesus, in order to bring the last phase of the lawsuit, goes to Jerusalem on a donkey and confronts the leaders in the very courts of the Temple. The pre-Last Supper/Garden encounter with them and the fig tree narrative are the end of the lawsuit and the pronunciation of the verdict. Of course, the irony here is that those leaders go to Jesus, remember, to try and trip Him up. They go to Him hoping to find exculpatory evidence against Him. They are like lambs going to the slaughter, because Jesus is there to do the same thing to them, which, of course, He does. He refuses to answer questions for them when they try to weasel around His questions.

    At the same time, God has preserved some in Israel, and they have not bowed as He did in Elijah’s day. Jesus calls these, and they are a bare handful. Many of those he healed have their names recorded. I think this is because, particularly in the case of Luke, because they believed and become part of the church and were known to Luke’s readers. He’s naming his sources for his information. The point is, they have to go into hiding during Jesus’ ministry. Many of them are together in Jerusalem at Pentecost, and they form the core of the church. The people, who had once been blinded by Jesus, receive bold and very plain teaching from the Apostles, and thus some of what Jesus did in his hiding the gospel was undone for a time. He undoes it Himself, since He is the one, by the Holy Spirit opening hearts and bringing to mind the teaching He had made. So, while Jesus was judging Israel, He is seen to store away, like David did while He fought battles against the nations and internal strife in his day, the raw materials that would build the living temple of God, the church. So, the message hardens on the one hand, yet it lays the foundation of which He is the cornerstone, and it becomes the instrument through which men are effectually called not only from Israel but every nation in the New Covenant.


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