Jared Smith On Various Issues

Persuasional Regeneration?

In an article entitled, “The Need For Persuasion In The Preaching Of The Gospel”, Peter Masters wrote:

“The hyper-Calvinist regards the regenerating work of the Spirit as a total and complete work of conversion carried on in the heart by the Spirit in a direct manner…Believing that the whole of regeneration and conversion is accomplished by a direct work of the Spirit in the heart, and that repentance and faith are the fruit and evidence of a soul already saved, the preacher has no exhortation left to make!”

This is a classic Reformed (Fullerite) Baptist position. I respond:[1]

First, the “hyper-Calvinist” does believe the regenerating work of the Spirt is total and complete.

Second, the “hyper-Calvinist” does believe that repentance and faith are the fruit and evidence of a soul already saved.

Third, the “hyper-Calvinist” distinguishes between the work of regeneration and that of conversion—regeneration is the Spirit of God working in the sinner both to will and to do of His good pleasure (impartation of a new nature); conversion is the sinner working out his/her own salvation with fear and trembling (exercise of the new nature). The sinner is entirely passive when regenerated, but he/she is spiritually active in conversion. Regeneration must first be experienced before conversion is exercised.

Fourth, the “hyper-Calvinist” does not believe the Spirit requires the persuasive exhortations of the preacher, or the faith/repentance of the sinner, in order to impart a new nature to the soul. Rather, the sinner requires the Spirit to impart a new nature to the soul in order to savingly respond to the preacher, believe on Christ and repent of sins. If the Spirit required the exhortations of the preacher, or the faith and repentance of the sinner, in order to regenerate souls, then how are unborn children, the mentally impaired and those who have never heard the gospel regenerated?

Fifth, the “hyper-Calvinist” believes the Gospel is to be freely preached to all sinners, in the fulness of its threefold message—the electing love of the Father, the redeeming grace of the Son and the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit. This message is to be proclaimed in all the authority given to the preacher by Christ. The insinuation that the “hyper-Calvinist” does not admonish the unregenerate to obey the heart law under the covenant of works, or exhort the regenerate to believe the gospel under the covenant of grace, is ridiculous!

Sixth, Masters errs by demanding of the unregenerate duties which are binding only upon the regenerate, and requiring of the regenerate duties which are binding only upon the unregenerate. In essence, he has conflated the covenant of works and the covenant of grace. To facilitate his crossover of the two covenants, he envisions the passion and persuasiveness of a preacher to assist in a sinner’s regeneration.

Seventh, Masters’ gospel is not free. Not only does he make the gospel conditional upon the sinner’s duty to savingly believe and savingly repent, but he also makes it contingent on the passion and persuasions of a preacher. Forthwith, the glory of God in the gracious covenant is diminished, and the power of God unto salvation is emasculated.

Jared Smith

[1] This article was written by Jared Smith for the AHB Facebook Page several years ago. That page no longer exists, so the article has been added to this online resource.