Presumptive Regeneration/Presumptive Election

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Me Died Blue

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
I know there are some here who hold to Presumptive Regeneration (e.g. Matt) and others who only hold to Presumptive Election (e.g. Fred, Dan), and that PR seems to be the predominant Reformed view historically and currently. I'm not really sure which one I see as the biblical doctrine yet, althought it doesn't seem to make that much a difference in the rest of one's theology. Thoughts from either side on why you hold to one versus the other?

(BTW, I do understand that in order to hold to PR, one must logically also hold to PE.)
 

fredtgreco

Vanilla Westminsterian
Staff member
Originally posted by Me Died Blue
I know there are some here who hold to Presumptive Regeneration (e.g. Matt) and others who only hold to Presumptive Election (e.g. Fred, Dan), and that PR seems to be the predominant Reformed view historically and currently. I'm not really sure which one I see as the biblical doctrine yet, althought it doesn't seem to make that much a difference in the rest of one's theology. Thoughts from either side on why you hold to one versus the other?

(BTW, I do understand that in order to hold to PR, one must logically also hold to PE.)

Chris,

The thread on infant baptism and crisis conversions has much of my thoughts on this. You simply MUST read Old's book and Calvin's Communicants questions.

Also, your statement above is incorrect on a couple of levels. I believe that Matt/Scott would disagree that "PR seems to be the predominant Reformed view currently." I certainly disagree with the statement that "PR seems to be the predominant Reformed view historically." Given Calvin's manual, and Owen's treatise on renegeration, as well as the historic Dutch views of A'Brakel, I think the best that can be argued is for a mixed bag - I actually think that the view is not the historic position, but that PE is.
 

Me Died Blue

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
Originally posted by fredtgreco
Originally posted by Me Died Blue
I know there are some here who hold to Presumptive Regeneration (e.g. Matt) and others who only hold to Presumptive Election (e.g. Fred, Dan), and that PR seems to be the predominant Reformed view historically and currently. I'm not really sure which one I see as the biblical doctrine yet, althought it doesn't seem to make that much a difference in the rest of one's theology. Thoughts from either side on why you hold to one versus the other?

(BTW, I do understand that in order to hold to PR, one must logically also hold to PE.)

Chris,

The thread on infant baptism and crisis conversions has much of my thoughts on this. You simply MUST read Old's book and Calvin's Communicants questions.

Yeah, that thread was what got me thinking about this topic in particular. I'll put that book on my to-get list.

Originally posted by fredtgreco
Also, your statement above is incorrect on a couple of levels. I believe that Matt/Scott would disagree that "PR seems to be the predominant Reformed view currently." I certainly disagree with the statement that "PR seems to be the predominant Reformed view historically." Given Calvin's manual, and Owen's treatise on renegeration, as well as the historic Dutch views of A'Brakel, I think the best that can be argued is for a mixed bag - I actually think that the view is not the historic position, but that PE is.

Thanks for the correction - I guess the reason I said that was because I haven't ever studied this doctrinal difference as an issue by itself, and have heard PR mentioned in the books, articles and sermons I've read/heard much more frequently than I've heard PE mentioned, for some reason.
 

Me Died Blue

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
Originally posted by Paul manata
How would PRers argue against paedocommunion?

I suppose the same way you finally convinced me against it back in March (in this thread): by showing that 1 Cor. 11 is not merely a warning on excessive abuses surrounding the Supper (which, as I see it, is the only interpretation of that passage that can save paedocommunion), but is in fact a total command for full examination before partaking any time, as clearly shown by 2 Chron. 30:18-20 and Numbers 9:6. The Chronicles passage is especially relevant, since it clearly likens the "cleasing of themselves" (and thus the "examining" in the Supper) to the one who "prepares his heart to seek God."

So as a presumptive electionist or regenerationist, in any case, just being a paedobaptist would definitely make me a paedocommunionist for consistency if it were not for 1 Cor. 11 and verses like 2 Chron. 30:18-20 to interpret it. But because of those passages, I can't see how anyone, presumptive regenerationist or not, can hold to paedocommunion.
 

fredtgreco

Vanilla Westminsterian
Staff member
Originally posted by Me Died Blue
Originally posted by Paul manata
How would PRers argue against paedocommunion?

I suppose the same way you finally convinced me against it back in March (in this thread): by showing that 1 Cor. 11 is not merely a warning on excessive abuses surrounding the Supper (which, as I see it, is the only interpretation of that passage that can save paedocommunion), but is in fact a total command for full examination before partaking any time, as clearly shown by 2 Chron. 30:18-20 and Numbers 9:6. The Chronicles passage is especially relevant, since it clearly likens the "cleasing of themselves" (and thus the "examining" in the Supper) to the one who "prepares his heart to seek God."

So as a presumptive electionist or regenerationist, in any case, just being a paedobaptist would definitely make me a paedocommunionist for consistency if it were not for 1 Cor. 11 and verses like 2 Chron. 30:18-20 to interpret it. But because of those passages, I can't see how anyone, presumptive regenerationist or not, can hold to paedocommunion.

But (at least to the extreme PR advocate) that examination is contained in the examination to see if one is baptized. If baptized, then regenerate, if regenerate, then able to partake. This is exactly where the Auburn folks go.

{NOTE: Advocates of PR on this board have not gone there - at least not Matt and Scott. Please don't hear me saying that. But it is possible, even likely that PR leads to paedocommunion}
 

Scott Bushey

Puritanboard Commissioner
I really do not know what Schlissel, Wilson et. al. are thinking. Presuming someone is regenerate is in no way saying someone is converted. The supper warrants conversion. PR does not lead to paedocommunion, not if the advocate is reading their bibles.

This is my position on PR. When my child shows forth her faith in her life and word, she will then partake along with us. This may be earlier than later; it all depends.

[Edited on 11-22-2004 by Scott Bushey]
 

JohnV

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
My view on this: Regeneration or Election

From what I can make out it's a terminological problem, and not so much a difference in theology. One of the reasons that I use the 'regeneration' in the presupmption is to face the false idea head on. PR, which has been a bad catch-all word around here between the different Dutch churches, carries the wrong notion of a declaration of salvation without profession of faith. But it was meant to convey an attributing of membership status, with all the benefits of that status, while still maintaining the full necessity of professing one's faith. Whether one speaks of election or regeneration, if we get into the exact extent of it we go further than what is revealed to us. What is extended to the children of the believer is the status of the believer as a full member of the Covenant. Therefore all the promises are included, and thus Covenant benefits.

These benefits are to be kept distinct from Covenant privileges. The latter includes the responsibilities of the conveying of the sacraments to the Covenant members. Not only may the unprofessed member not receive communion, but also their children may not receive the sign and seal of baptism. Children receive the Covenant sign by virtue of the parents' (or parent's) faith, because they are within the household of faith. But they do have to also profess their faith in order to receive and be responsible for Communion and the baptism of their children. Otherwise the presumption is no longer on the faith of the Covenant head of the family.

If we are going to divide between the two terms I will gladly acquiesce and give up the term I favour, "regeneration." I think that it would take away from the meaning to quibble over the term. It's not about that; it's about the rights of children in the Church, and even more about the "unspeakable comfort" granted to the parents in the case of the loss of a child too soon to live a life of faith in response of thankfulness for the salvation of the Cross of Christ. It is not that such a life must be lived for salvation to be granted, but that such a life would attest to the parents and the church of the salvation of the person if faith were evidenced by works or righteousness. For such a life lived would be the result of faith, not the cause of it; and so the great comfort to the parents if a child should die before such an expression of faith were possible. Jesus speaks of angels watching over them.

It doesn't mean that everything is all set for them, that they will infallibly have faith; but it does mean that if they don't respond in faith, if they rebel, that they have fallen from the Covenant. But those who struggle with faith all their lives, but believe in God's end of the keeping of the Covenant have no reason to despair of being left out of God's grace. So there is also an assurance that applies to it as well. It just is no excuse for carelessness in the faith. In fact, it is supposed to, and indeed does, provide the very means by which carelessness in faith is fought against in the life of the faithful. The assurance is one of hope in God's faithfulness, not our own. And thus we are always encouraged by Scripture and the Church to repent, and to turn from sin, and to return in thankfulness to Christ.
 

Me Died Blue

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
Originally posted by fredtgreco
Originally posted by Me Died Blue
Originally posted by Paul manata
How would PRers argue against paedocommunion?

I suppose the same way you finally convinced me against it back in March (in this thread): by showing that 1 Cor. 11 is not merely a warning on excessive abuses surrounding the Supper (which, as I see it, is the only interpretation of that passage that can save paedocommunion), but is in fact a total command for full examination before partaking any time, as clearly shown by 2 Chron. 30:18-20 and Numbers 9:6. The Chronicles passage is especially relevant, since it clearly likens the "cleasing of themselves" (and thus the "examining" in the Supper) to the one who "prepares his heart to seek God."

So as a presumptive electionist or regenerationist, in any case, just being a paedobaptist would definitely make me a paedocommunionist for consistency if it were not for 1 Cor. 11 and verses like 2 Chron. 30:18-20 to interpret it. But because of those passages, I can't see how anyone, presumptive regenerationist or not, can hold to paedocommunion.

But (at least to the extreme PR advocate) that examination is contained in the examination to see if one is baptized. If baptized, then regenerate, if regenerate, then able to partake. This is exactly where the Auburn folks go.

{NOTE: Advocates of PR on this board have not gone there - at least not Matt and Scott. Please don't hear me saying that. But it is possible, even likely that PR leads to paedocommunion}

Their interpretation of "examine" as able to be fulfilled by being regenerate seems to completely ignore the 2 Chronicles passage, which specifically likens "cleansing" before Passover with the act of one who "prepares his [own] heart to seek God" (emphasis mine), so to simply equate "preparing your own heart to seek God" with "being regenerate" seems to be horribly careless exegesis.
 

Me Died Blue

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
Originally posted by Scott Bushey
Chris,
See my previous posts.........

In your previous post, you said,

Originally posted by Scott Bushey
I really do not know what Schlissel, Wilson et. al. are thinking. Presuming someone is regenerate is in no way saying someone is converted. The supper warrants conversion. PR does not lead to paedocommunion, not if the advocate is reading their bibles.

This is my position on PR. When my child shows forth her faith in her life and word, she will then partake along with us. This may be earlier than later; it all depends.

with which I agree. My above post was making the point that paedocommunion can't hold up even with PR, and that the A4's faulty exegesis of "examine" can't save paedocommunion, either, PR or not.
 

RamistThomist

Puritanboard Clerk
I used to tentatively hold to PR (and perhaps I still do) but Ex Nihilo (Evie) and I have been talking and I can see some weak parts in it. Fred also made a few good points in another thread (the one on communicants' classes).

I do have a question for Matt, however:

A long time ago in a thread far away, I clicked on a link concerning Baptism and in that link you mentioned, quoting John Gerstner, that the Scottish tended to view their children as regenerate (or elect, I can't remember) until proven otherwise, whereas the English Puritans viewed their children as non-elect/regenerate until proven otherwise. Did I get that right? I just found that statement to be very interesting and being the amateur historian that I aspire to be, I like to find teh causes for people's beliefs. I hope I was clear just then.
 

Me Died Blue

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
The main question I have for PRs is how they directly build their case exegetically.

The reason I'm a paedobaptist (and at least a PE, not sure on PR yet) is because I see God's numerous promises of spiritual blessing and favor to the children of believers (including OT circumcision), and God's promise is at least as biblical and sure a ground on which to presume as is man's profession. Thus, we can at least presume that God is going to spiritually bless our children, and thus that they are elect (since the reprobate receive no blessing but common grace).

However, on what grounds can we necessarily presume from those promises that they are going to take effect as soon as the child is born (which is what PR seems to logically imply)? Is it the "assume the promise's logical result until evidence points otherwise" mindset, analogous to the CT hermeneutic of assuming continuity unless shown otherwise?

In return, I suppose the PR could ask the PE what they make of the fact that among other things, baptism signifies regeneration.
 

Scott Bushey

Puritanboard Commissioner
Paul,
It is not regeneration, thats for sure. Conversion is the final component in the ordo salutis; it is Gods miracle.

[Edited on 11-23-2004 by Scott Bushey]
 

Me Died Blue

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
I would say conversion is when a person exercises saving faith, and is where justification is fully and finally entified (I say "entified" because it was of course purchased at the Cross).
 

Scott Bushey

Puritanboard Commissioner
Originally posted by Me Died Blue
I would say conversion is when a person exercises saving faith, and is where justification is fully and finally entified (I say "entified" because it was of course purchased at the Cross).

Chris,
"Exercises" sounds as if the justification and conversion is dependant upon the action of the person previously regenerated. Saving faith is _exhibited_in the person when he is converted. One would never have saving faith unless conversion allowed for it.

Rom 8:28 But we know that to the ones loving God all things work together for good, to those being called according to purpose;
Rom 8:29 because whom He foreknew, He also predestinated to be conformed to the image of His Son, for Him to be the First-born among many brothers.
Rom 8:30 But whom He predestinated, these He also called; and whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.
 

Me Died Blue

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
Originally posted by Scott Bushey
Originally posted by Me Died Blue
I would say conversion is when a person exercises saving faith, and is where justification is fully and finally entified (I say "entified" because it was of course purchased at the Cross).

Chris,
"Exercises" sounds as if the justification and conversion is dependant upon the action of the person previously regenerated. Saving faith is _exhibited_in the person when he is converted. One would never have saving faith unless conversion allowed for it.

Rom 8:28 But we know that to the ones loving God all things work together for good, to those being called according to purpose;
Rom 8:29 because whom He foreknew, He also predestinated to be conformed to the image of His Son, for Him to be the First-born among many brothers.
Rom 8:30 But whom He predestinated, these He also called; and whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.

Agreed - I think of the two as simultaneous (faith and conversion) actions that God can only bring about after (or simultaneous with) regeneration. And from our perspective, we are exercising faith at that time, even though we now know that God was behind it. In other words, while both the regeneration and the sometimes-later conversion are brought about monergistically, the latter does result in a simultaneous action of our own, whereas the former does not.
 

wsw201

Puritan Board Senior
So what you are saying is that faith and repentance (the fruit of regeneration) is conversion. So someone can be regenerated by the Holy Spirit but not exhibit faith and repentance until sometime later?
 

Scott

Puritan Board Graduate
Is there any indication in the Bible that someone can be regenerate but not justified?
 

Scott Bushey

Puritanboard Commissioner
When speaking of PR, we are speaking of that which is based upon Gods promise, our faith towards the promise and our childs baptism and what baptism represents. Conversion requires the hearing of Gods word and processing of that word; infants or young children are not able to do that. When the time comes when they do show 'processing' of the information, I would then begin to presume conversion.
 

Scott Bushey

Puritanboard Commissioner
You would have to ask yourself if the promises of God change or not.
If they do not change, then, yes, it is absolutely the case.
Do you believe that?


[Edited on 11-24-2004 by Scott Bushey]
 

AdamM

Puritan Board Freshman
Is there any indication in the Bible that someone can be regenerate but not justified?

Good point (question) Scott.

Regeneration, the renewing of the human will, conversion the turning to God through that renewed will and justification, the result of the renewed will trusting and turning to God are set forth in our theology in a logical order, but they are received by the sinner chronologically punctiliar. The ordo salutis gives a logical priority of separate and distinct actions, but isn´t meant to imply that there is a time gap of the sort that we measure with a stopwatch.

Just as the sinful will not ever turn to Christ, the renewed will cannot help but turn to Christ (conversion) and is justified. You can´t have regeneration without union with Christ and a person who has union Christ is also a person who is converted, justified, being sanctified & etc. To suppose otherwise would mean that a person could be united with Christ and still not be justified or justified while not also being sanctified "“ something that is impossible.

The ordo salutis page at monergism.com has a bunch of links to good articles explaining this further.

http://www.monergism.com/thethreshold/articles/topic/ordosalutis.html

Ordo Salutis (The Order of Salvation)
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Latin, "the order of salvation." The ordo salutis is the theological doctrine that deals with the logical sequencing of the benefits of Salvation worked by Christ which are applied to us by the Spirit. This first thing to remember is that we must never seperate the benefits (regeneration, justification, sanctification) from the Benefactor (Jesus Christ). The entire process (election, redemption, regeneration, etc.) is the work of God in Christ and is by grace alone. Election is the superstructure of our ordo salutis, but not itself the application of redemption. Regeneration, the work of the Holy Spirit which brings us into a living union with Christ, has a causal priority over the other aspects of the process of salvation. God opens our eyes, we see. God circumcises/ unplugs our ears, we hear. Jesus calls a dead and buried Lazarus out of the grave, he comes; In the same way, the Holy Spirit applies regeneration, (opening our spiritual eyes and renewing our affections), infallibly resulting in faith. All the benefits of redemption such as conversion (faith & repentance), justification, sanctification and perseverance presuppose the existence of spiritual life. The work of applying God's grace is a unitary process given to the elect simultaneously. This is instantaneous, but there is definitely a causal order (regeneration giving rise to all the rest). Though these benefits cannot be separated, it is helpful to distinguish them. Therefore, instead of imposing a chronological order we should view these as a unitary work of God to bring us into union with Christ. We must always keep in mind that the orders expressed in the following articles occur together or happen simultaneously like the turning on of a light switch or a faucet. But God turns on the light/faucet, so to speak. All aspects of the work of God continue together throughout the life of a Christian.
 

Scott Bushey

Puritanboard Commissioner
Adam, For the record, that was P. Manata's question.

Paul, yes. It is necessarily the case.

Men cannot be converted without the hearing of Gods word to facilitate conversion. John is a prime example. This fact is irrefutable.

Whats up with the verse from Tim?

[Edited on 11-24-2004 by Scott Bushey]
 

fredtgreco

Vanilla Westminsterian
Staff member
Originally posted by Scott Bushey
You would have to ask yourself if the promises of God change or not.
If they do not change, then, yes, it is absolutely the case.
Do you believe that?


[Edited on 11-24-2004 by Scott Bushey]

Isn't there another option? An option that occurs over and over again throughout the Bible? That is that the promises are not always to those whom they seem to be to. A prime example being Esau.
 
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