This post is inspired by a recent blog by Peter Lumpkins that details some views of B.H. Carroll on regeneration. I enjoy Peter’s writing, especially when I disagree with him. This is the mark of all competent writers. But what caught my attention was this sentence:
Carroll clearly rejected Founders’ strange insistence upon “regeneration precedes faith”
To me this didn’t sound strange, but familiar. It reminded me of something I have read many times in the Baptist Faith & Message.
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. Repentance and faith are inseparable experiences of grace.
Notice that our faith & repentance is said to be a response to God’s work of regeneration. So, it is the cause that precedes the effect. Agree or disagree, that is what is says. I would suggest it should not be called strange unless you speak as the Athenians spoke to Paul.
For thou bringest certain strange things to our ears: we would know therefore what these things mean. (Acts 17:20 KJV)
Does All This Really Matter?
I hesitate to bring this up, except that it was so strange to me. How can a plain aspect of our shared confession be considered strange? Why not give glory to God and get on with the mission? Why not accept the Baptist Identity we’ve settled upon in the BF&M 2000?