Leading to Christ - Poll

Through what agency were you first brought to the knowledge of Christ?

  • I was converted through the work of an ordained minister.

    Votes: 23 39.7%
  • I was converted by some other means apart from an ordained minister.

    Votes: 22 37.9%
  • I am not sure.

    Votes: 13 22.4%

  • Total voters
    58
  • Poll closed .
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timfost

Puritan Board Senior
Conversion falls under faith and repentance-faith preceding repentance.

Can one repent unless one knows what one is repenting of? Can one have faith in a thing or person if one has no ascent to any facts about the matter?

To be converted a few things must be occurring:
1) Notitia
2) Fiducia
3) ascentia

Agreed on all fronts. I'm just wondering if it would be better to say "conversion includes the ascending to biblical truth"? In other words, it is not only assent but assent is a necessary element of conversion as a whole. I think we're in agreement.
 

Scott Bushey

Puritanboard Commissioner
Seeking is not meritorious but it is necessary to properly prepare men for reception of salvation.

Effectual calling, conversion and regeneration were used as virtually synonymous terms by Edwards

The mind, active in repentance, is passive in regeneration.

Conversion refers both to the passivity of the mind as well as it’s reflex action.

Repentance is an activity of the mind attributed to God alone as it’s source.

Regeneration/efficacious grace is characteristically immediate, the cause solely supernatural without the human antecedents of faith and repentance.

Physical regeneration is not the product of education or moral influence, but the direct work of the Holy Spirit.

If ever men are to be turned to God, God must turn them.

The saint is active afterward in consequence of regeneration.

If a person is utterly passive when regenerated and thoroughly active once born again.

What God produces are our own acts.

God is the only proper author and fountain.

We are, in different respects, wholly passive and wholly active.

A holy, heavenly spark is put into the soul of the Christian at conversion and God maintains it there.

This spark has influence to govern the Christian’s heart.

Efficacious grace as the gift of God is quite consistent with vigorous human activity.

Edwards sometimes describes conversion as an act, sometimes as a process.

It is the infused principle of grace which makes actions right, and not actions which make the principle right.

Faith begins in the understanding.

Faith is a rational act in the first instance.

Truth must be present to the mind before it can be illumined.

There must be that which is to be believed before it can be believed.

Doctrine is indispensable.

There must be a true object of faith before there can be a true exercise of faith.

The soul cannot be consciously united to Christ without knowing something about him.

One must know what is true about Christ to be united to Him.

Acquiescence is an assent of the soul to what it understands.

This assent is more than mere knowledge.

Unless all these aspects, understanding, inclination, and will are involved, there is no true justifying faith.

Faith is an assent of the soul, venturing one’s whole interest on Christ.
~The above is from an outline Gerstner wrote on Edwards' theology on seeking, regeneration, faith and conversion.
 

Ed Walsh

Puritan Board Junior
In other words, conversion is not a process.

Amen!

For a short survey (31 pages) of the Puritan's view on regeneration and conversion I have uploaded the following chapter:

Chapter 29
The Puritans on Regeneration
From: A Puritan Theology: Doctrine for Life.
By: Beeke, J. R., & Jones, M.
 

Attachments

  • The Puritans on Regeneration.pdf
    1.9 MB · Views: 3

Ed Walsh

Puritan Board Junior
Ha, I know, but is there a point to be proven by the results?

One poster at least, on the Leading to Christ thread, has stated several times that it is impossible for a layman to lead someone to Christ given Paul's statement in Romans 10:14. Much discussion, pro, and con followed. This thread was a fact-finding mission to see if the poster was trying to prove too much by making the ordinary way the only way anyone is ever led to Christ. Below are two relevant quotes from that thread:

How would you answer the person who says they were lead (edit to led) to Jesus and saved by the conversation of a coworker or dorm buddy? I ask in light of Romans 10:14 which in my opinion is exclusive to preachers.

This entire thread about the obligation, and the mistaken idea you and I as laypersons are obligated to the task of evangelism. I am sorry but as alluded to previously the "ordinary" way people come top Jesus is by preaching (which Our Lord can use the preachers in the scripture BTW). Any other extraordinary way, such as a dorm buddy who thinks they led another to Christ, speaks against Romans 10:14 which BTW is specific to all of us. To explain it away by using the word "ordinary" ignores how Our Lord ordained people to come to Jesus. I am growing weary of "every member is an evangelist" which has infected many of our so called "missional" churches.

This poll is an attempted reductio ad absurdum to the interpretation above by creating a dilemma between this narrow view of Rom. 10:14 and the results of this poll. For, if the poster is correct then logically one must conclude that the people that checked option 2 of the poll are not true Christians.

Hope this helps. Consider also what was said in the original post of this poll:

Before we take the poll, let us all agree that we do not determine theological doctrine by a poll or vote. That should help us avoid much concern and discussion that is more appropriate on the Leading to Christ thread. Agreed?

Anyway, if you still don't see the point I think you may never understand it.
 

earl40

Puritan Board Professor
This poll is an attempted reductio ad absurdum to the interpretation above by creating a dilemma between this narrow view of Rom. 10:14 and the results of this poll. For, if the poster is correct then logically one must conclude that the people that checked option 2 of the poll are not true Christians.

I can see where you believe to think like I do in that the people who think they were converted by a layman are not Christians. Allow me to state categorically this is simply incorrect. :)

What I have found in every case of adult conversions is that they were always exposed to The Gospel before their awareness of their conversion took place. Look at it this way. A baby is born and is not cognitive of the events of that day. So it is like being born again. Yes many adult converts see a change in their life, but in every case they are connected to a church which administers baptism and preaches The Word.

For an example may I use RC Sproul who I have enjoyed immensely over many years. He has stated he was converted by a "dorm buddy" if I recall. I may be wrong here, though the particular detail of a dorm buddy may be replaced by someone other than a Pastor. Well RC sat under a Pastor all his life, and like many of us who grew up in a church under some, or a lot of preaching,we may not experience the earth shattering experience RC did. In my most humble opinion I believe the experience was not conversion but was Our Lord calling Him to be a pastor, which like me is a earth shattering experience, when The Lord makes and sets our path straight and well defined. I know he says he had no thoughts of the things of God before this experience, but I seriously believe his parents and pastor would probably dispute such, in that many take a certain "level of commitment" to be when they believed for the first time. I find it interesting this often happens when people are at collage age, which are very formative years in the development of what one is going to do with the rest of ones life. In other words, many mistake the idea of what and Who I am going to follow as being the moment of conversion. With some it happens earlier and others later and others never which does not mean they are not committed to an extent to follow Our Lord and His ways.
 
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Scott Bushey

Puritanboard Commissioner
In one sense, I agree w/ Earl; most everyone, even if one had been witnessed to by someone outside of the formal church setting, the knowledge base they had was gleaned from the church or churches they had attended prior to their event. As well, no one is independent of their church home; witnesses are sent in a similar fashion the leaders are; they are extensions of the leadership-representing the leaders and the official sending in the commission.
 

Ryan&Amber2013

Puritan Board Junior
One poster at least, on the Leading to Christ thread, has stated several times that it is impossible for a layman to lead someone to Christ given Paul's statement in Romans 10:14. Much discussion, pro, and con followed. This thread was a fact-finding mission to see if the poster was trying to prove too much by making the ordinary way the only way anyone is ever led to Christ. Below are two relevant quotes from that thread:





This poll is an attempted reductio ad absurdum to the interpretation above by creating a dilemma between this narrow view of Rom. 10:14 and the results of this poll. For, if the poster is correct then logically one must conclude that the people that checked option 2 of the poll are not true Christians.

Hope this helps. Consider also what was said in the original post of this poll:



Anyway, if you still don't see the point I think you may never understand it.
It is clear now. Thank you brother.
 

Ed Walsh

Puritan Board Junior
Allow me to state categorically this is simply incorrect.

Thank you for this and the rest of your post. I think I understand better now what you have been trying to say. I did struggle a bit with your original posts trying to understand your view. It is clearer to me now.

An interesting aside. In one of Dabney's lectures, he spoke of conversions later in life. He stated that although he believed it possible, that he did not know of a single case of later life conversion where the convert was not raised in a church environment.

God bless,

Ed
 

Jeri Tanner

Moderator
Staff member
In one sense, I agree w/ Earl; most everyone, even if one had been witnessed to by someone outside of the formal church setting, the knowledge base they had was gleaned from the church or churches they had attended prior to their event.

This was certainly true of me. I attended church with my grandmother as a child where Christ was preached; I made the VBS confession of faith and was baptized at 9. Memorized a lot of Scripture passages in those VBS programs, including Romans 10:8-14! By the time I was in my teens, my affection for the Christ I barely knew had been starved out but I had heard the gospel and could still quote (and still can) that passage of Scripture.
 

Dachaser

Puritan Board Doctor
I think it is good as is. I'll be watching this with curiosity. If this were an evangelical board, I would expect 90% in the "apart from an ordained minister" category, because of the extremely weak ecclesiology and disdain for the offices.
Those who are evangelical bent do not put down the office of the pastor, but do not see them as being the only ones that are charged by God to be a witness for Christ.
 

earl40

Puritan Board Professor
Those who are evangelical bent do not put down the office of the pastor, but do not see them as being the only ones that are charged by God to be a witness for Christ.

You really ought to read all these posts with the idea that NO ONE has said the laity are not allowed to be a witness. No matter how you cut it if one equates a witness with preaching one has "put down" the office of the pastor.
 

Gforce9

Puritan Board Junior
1) Those who are evangelical bent do not put down the office of the pastor, but 2) do not see them as being the only ones that are charged by God to be a witness for Christ.

1) This is not entirely true. There is a whole segment of evangelicals who have "no creed, but Christ" and "no office but the priesthood of believers".
2) This thread has been consistent with folks on both sides who acknowledge all should give a reason for the hope we have. There is no dispute about this. The question is who has the authority of God as a minister of the Word and who can rightly preach and who has the keys of the Kingdom,...
 

Dachaser

Puritan Board Doctor
1) This is not entirely true. There is a whole segment of evangelicals who have "no creed, but Christ" and "no office but the priesthood of believers".
2) This thread has been consistent with folks on both sides who acknowledge all should give a reason for the hope we have. There is no dispute about this. The question is who has the authority of God as a minister of the Word and who can rightly preach and who has the keys of the Kingdom,...
I think that part of this might be labeling also, as think all here would agree that the pastor and Elders are to teach and build up the redeemed in their practices and doctrines, and all of us can witness for the Lord.
 

Dachaser

Puritan Board Doctor
You really ought to read all these posts with the idea that NO ONE has said the laity are not allowed to be a witness. No matter how you cut it if one equates a witness with preaching one has "put down" the office of the pastor.
How are you defining to preach though? My understanding is when one gets in the pulpit and speaks on what the scriptures say to us and gives exhortation and application of them, but we can teach from the Bible without preaching .
 

earl40

Puritan Board Professor
How are you defining to preach though? My understanding is when one gets in the pulpit and speaks on what the scriptures say to us and gives exhortation and application of them, but we can teach from the Bible without preaching .

We should define preaching by those one who are sent (Roman 10:14) to speak God's Word officially.
 

earl40

Puritan Board Professor
Officially would be in the context then of teaching the assembly, or a gathering of the believers in Christ.

Or proclaiming The Gospel outside the walls of our buildings. I call this preaching, and when we proclaim Jesus (Non TE's) I call that witnessing.
 

reaganmarsh

Puritan Board Senior
Amen!

For a short survey (31 pages) of the Puritan's view on regeneration and conversion I have uploaded the following chapter:

Chapter 29
The Puritans on Regeneration
From: A Puritan Theology: Doctrine for Life.
By: Beeke, J. R., & Jones, M.

Pausing to appreciate such a fantastic book.

Ok, everyone. As you were. :lol:
 

Dachaser

Puritan Board Doctor
Or proclaiming The Gospel outside the walls of our buildings. I call this preaching, and when we proclaim Jesus (Non TE's) I call that witnessing.
There is also the issue of the "annoiting" that comes upon a man ordain and gifted by the Holy Spirit to deliver the scriptures to the local flock to edify and build them up in the things of the faith.
 

Pergamum

Ordinary Guy (TM)
The OP is on "leading" to Christ but I see a bunch of responses about the proper definition of "preaching" --- all leading is not preaching, after all.

We are quibbling over technical terms and ignoring the fact that many self-report that they first came to faith or believed after the witness of a layman or in a situation not inside of a church or not under the preaching of the Word by a preacher in a pulpit.
 

earl40

Puritan Board Professor
The OP is on "leading" to Christ but I see a bunch of responses about the proper definition of "preaching" --- all leading is not preaching, after all.

We are quibbling over technical terms and ignoring the fact that many self-report that they first came to faith or believed after the witness of a layman or in a situation not inside of a church or not under the preaching of the Word by a preacher in a pulpit.

I ask humbly. Where in scripture do we see self reporters reporting they came to faith via non ordinary means?
 

Pergamum

Ordinary Guy (TM)
It seems a strange exclusion if we do not count the private reading of the Word or the regular witness of non-ordained Christians to be non-ordinary means, as if we are to find fault in the testimony of a believer who comes to faith through reading the Scriptures on his own.
 

timfost

Puritan Board Senior
I ask humbly. Where in scripture do we see self reporters reporting they came to faith via non ordinary means?

"For how do you know, O wife, whether you will save your husband? Or how do you know, O husband, whether you will save your wife?" (1Cor. 7:16)

"Wives, likewise, be submissive to your own husbands, that even if some do not obey the word, they, without a word, may be won by the conduct of their wives..." (1 Pet. 3:1)

"...when I call to remembrance the genuine faith that is in you, which dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice, and I am persuaded is in you also." (2 Tim. 1:5)

"...and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus." (2 Tim. 3:15)

Earl, scriptures seem to be clear against your statements. I would encourage you to study the issue more. "Ordinary" does not make other means impossible. Please read Calvin on Rom. 10:14.

Blessings,
 

BG

Puritan Board Junior
Based on what some are saying on the two threads, Salvation is impossible unless it occurs under the preaching of an ordained reformed minister.

Should we question the salvation of those who don’t meet this standard, including pastors? Sounds like a slippery slope.
 
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