ROMANS 7 - a Regenerate Paul?

Discussion in 'The Pilgrims Progress' started by msortwell, Nov 1, 2009.

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  1. msortwell

    msortwell Puritan Board Freshman

    I am interested in support for the varying views concerning whether Paul, in Romans 7:1-24, is discussing his condition before, after, or before AND after his regeneration.

    Direction to any previous discussions/threads on the topic would also be appreciated.


  2. Jim Peet

    Jim Peet Puritan Board Freshman

  3. johnbugay

    johnbugay Puritan Board Freshman

    Mike Brown has a sermon series on Romans, here:

    Audio Sermons from Christ United Reformed Church - Santee

    I listened to the whole series; he has an excellent treatment of Romans 7. Essentially, he says that the chapter is about the Regenerate Paul. (He discusses the other views, and then comes to this conclusion, which he says, I believe, is the historically Reformed position on it).
  4. Skyler

    Skyler Puritan Board Graduate

    The grammar of the chapter leads naturally to the conclusion that he is talking about himself in the present tense--that is, regenerate.
  5. Ivan

    Ivan Pastor

    I agree.
  6. BuddyOfDavidClarkson

    BuddyOfDavidClarkson Puritan Board Freshman

    It's a Puritan work, but read "A Treatise on Sanctification" by James Fraser. It's an exposition of Romans 6, 7 & 8:1-4 and he does a masterful job of proving that Paul is describing his regenerate self in Romans 7.

    If you can't find the book, PM me and I'll help you look. It will solidly answer your question.

    by James Fraser

  7. Michael Doyle

    Michael Doyle Puritan Board Junior

  8. kvanlaan

    kvanlaan Puritan Board Doctor

    In my very simplistic opinion, it is a regenerate Paul. In verse 15 he talks about hating what he does. If he was not regenerate, why would he hate sin? He is therefore regenerate, no?
  9. Eoghan

    Eoghan Puritan Board Junior

    I agree :agree: The very fact that you are wrestling with sin is one of the signs of the new birth. Not the only sign, far less an infallable sign, but I think we should expect regenerate believers to be wrestling with sin. :2cents:
  10. Ivan

    Ivan Pastor

    Here's a link to Amazon that has the title available: Used and New: A Treatise on Sanctification
  11. msortwell

    msortwell Puritan Board Freshman

    I appreciate everyone's input. It seems to me that the discussion begins with Paul's account of when he was lost (vs. 5-12), but he then transitions to his conversion (vs. 13), and concludes with his then present struggles 'working out his salvation' (14-25).

    It is Paul's consistent use of the present tense in verses 17 and following that make it difficult for me to believe he was writing of his past, unregenerate, condition.

    Generally I can see the "other side" - arguments held by my brothers with whom I disagree. Here I simply cannot see it. I was somewhat hopeful that someone would offer an argument that at least made sense to me, even though I might not accept it as correct.
  12. A.Hudson

    A.Hudson Puritan Board Freshman

    Funny you would bring this up, being that alot of dudes in my circle have different views on this, and we have debated this.. one half thinks it's Paul regenerated and another Unregenerate. Arguments that I've heard against the regenerate position is being that, Paul just finished talking about how we are free from sin in (Ch.6)..why would Paul say that he is sold under sin (V.14) and also say "Captive" to the law of sin (V.23)..which draws some tension being that chap 6 and 8 talks about a believers freedom from sin. Also they say that the desire to delight in God's law is the pious Jew who desired an upright and moral life, but because he's unregenrated cannot keep God's law (V.18-20). Also the Spirit is not mentioned at all in this chapter. I def thought that this was a regenrated Paul talking here, but now I'm in the middle..have to do some more study and seeking The Lord on it.

    ****All of these are views that were presented to me in a discussion with a close brother of mine who believes this is talking about the unregenrated Paul..there's more points, but I don't know them off the top of my head..If I get them, I will post them up..he also addressed the view of Paul speaking in the present tense.

    They also don't deny the fact that we do wrestle with sin based on (Gal 5:17), and (1 John 1:8-9).****
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2009
  13. Grillsy

    Grillsy Puritan Board Junior

  14. Denton Elliott

    Denton Elliott Puritan Board Freshman

  15. Brian Withnell

    Brian Withnell Puritan Board Junior

    I find no reason to see this as anything but regenerate Paul. I understand that some find it difficult to hear v.14 but I also find v.21, 22 as not possible for the unregenerate. That present tense is used throughout seals the deal.

    I understand that some are very much chunking Romans too greatly. I sometimes think it comes from proof-texting and wanting to look at the book in a very segmented way. When teaching through the book, I printed it without verses or chapters and had everyone read it through ... the epiphany that exercise had for many that did was amazing. It reads like a letter very well written, and it speaks much more clearly. I do this regularly as a means of study for myself, as I find I will understand the big picture much more easily without the structure around the text. It helps me.
  16. Denton Elliott

    Denton Elliott Puritan Board Freshman

    Actually, removing the chapter/verse from Romans is one of the things that leads Charles Leiter and others to claim this is unregenerate Paul. I challenge you to listen to his sermons or read his book to get the other side.
  17. Brian Withnell

    Brian Withnell Puritan Board Junior

    Read through a lot of it. I find some things that jumped out as unsupported, and one thing that was glaring. In the discussion of 14 and 15, he never talks about the tenses, but only follows his suppositions, not of Paul speaking of himself. He does not address that using the present tense of himself, if his conjecture were true, would be a lie.

    I see how he arrives at his conjecture. I disagree completely. The most telling of the self-inflicted injury of his argument is toward the end of the post. He states: "There is no doubt that every true Christian has felt at times as if he were “in the middle” of Romans 7" and concludes that even though it would be very possible for Paul to speak of this as his present experience, it is not what he believes Paul is in fact saying. Much of the prior work in his blog was to deny that Paul would or even could be saying those things, and then he admits that it is very possible. What I believe he ought to do is re-read the passage with the concept that is exactly what Paul is saying, and pull from it what it then means.

    The idea of using historical present in scripture is very prevalent, but only in historical narrative. Attempting to push that into this passage I think is clearly beyond an appropriate use of it. The historical present was to add the urgency of the passage (Mark uses it extensively to convey the excitement of the message). To apply it to didactic passages? I would not think that wise or safe.
  18. Denton Elliott

    Denton Elliott Puritan Board Freshman

    Understood. Charles Leiter does a much more thorough job explaining why it is historical present. Also, Dr. Reymond explains better than I why he believes it is Paul talking about his pre-conversion experience. Check them out to get a better argument than I can provide.
  19. MW

    MW Puritan Board Doctor

    I wouldn't place too much emphasis on the present tense because it follows grammatically from verse 14, which is the transition verse. It does not necessarily refer to a different state as decribed prior to verse 14.

    The movement in thought from Romans 7:25 to 8:1 is the strongest argument that Paul has been describing a regenerate state. It is in this precise state that there is no condemnation in Christ Jesus. At the same time it must be recognised that Paul was examining the regenerate state from the perspective of law, not grace. Rom. 8:1 brings a fresh perspective of looking at the regenerate man with his struggles against sin from the viewpoint of grace.

    The strongest argument for the unregenerate Paul is provided by Pauline scholars who take into account his overall old man/new man teaching. I believe they are simply imposing their understanding of Paul's doctrine of sanctification on this text without taking into consideration the law-grace perspectives I have just mentioned. Romans 7:14ff naturally looks different to the usual Pauline view of the new man simply because it only presents one side of the picture.
  20. Michael Doyle

    Michael Doyle Puritan Board Junior

    Thank you reverend Winzer. My pastor just preached this text today working his way through Romans and used the similar argument that Paul was examining the regenerate state from the perspective of law, not grace. He gave clear exposition to the regenerate Paul that has been the reformed position almost unanimously
  21. Romans 9:16

    Romans 9:16 Puritan Board Freshman

    A simple syllogism should clear this up:

    Premise 1 = The unregenerate mind cannot submit to (and is hostile toward) God and his Law (Rom 8:7)

    Premise 2 = The mind of the man in Romans 7 does submit to the Law of God (7:25)

    Therefore, the man of Romans 7 does not have an unregenerate mind.
  22. SolaScriptura

    SolaScriptura Puritanboard Softy

    I do agree that Rom 7 is referring to the experiences of a regenerate Paul (I hope so, or I'm sunk because I live Rom7 on an unfortunately regular basis!) ...

    However, I want to comment on this apparent idea that an unregenerate person can't ever come to a place where they loathe the sin that besets them. They can and do. I've seen unregenerate men weep because they hate themselves because they can't break free from the power of an addiction and they know it is ruining their life... the difference between a regenerate and unregenerate person at this point is the presence of a basis for hope of deliverance.
  23. Denton Elliott

    Denton Elliott Puritan Board Freshman

    I think we need to be clear. Those who take the unregenerate Paul view don't argue that a Christian cannot struggle with sin. They argue that a Christian will not be in bondage and therefore slavery to sin because they are free in Christ and have the Holy Spirit to help now. They also say that other passages in Scripture teach this principle (like 1 John) but that doesn't mean this passage is teaching that principle. As far as exegesis is concerned, the arguments by Charles Leiter (and others) are quite excellent and convincing. The best way for you to come to your own conclusion is to study the viewpoint of a particular proponent from his own writings/lectures instead of getting a possible strawman from an opponent.
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