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Saturday, December 28, 2013

Dangers of Inclusivism & When Does Regeneration Take Place?

After thinking, researching and listening to things regarding two issues, I want to share some conclusions that I've come to.  This is coming from a female writer who does not want to sinfully instruct men.  This is not meant to be authoritative so much as an opinion piece after researching Scripture and other online resources.

Issue One:  When does regeneration take place?  Does it take place right before belief, or can it happen to a baby who doesn't know the Gospel?
Regeneration by definition seems to refer to the new birth of when someone is spiritually transformed from death to life.
There are verses that seem to put this together with the renewing of or being born of the Holy Spirit (Titus 3:5-6; John 3:3-8) and that the preaching of the Word of God is involved as the seed used (1 Peter 1:23; James 1:18; Romans 10:17). 
I do not believe that a person could be regenerated years before they actually repent and believe the Gospel except if you are just referring to the future plan of God and His view of what will be as already accomplished.  The idea of years between regeneration rather than immediately before belief would make no sense, since by definition regeneration is a new birth as well as it seems to imply a change of heart .

This leads me to my the other issue that started me off down this path.  I was listening to the Cross Conference and heard Kevin DeYoung mention that there are some Calvinists who believe in inclusivism.  Certainly that is not the majority of us, but I wanted to investigate the subject because of my grave concern after reading in the past someone suggesting that somebody's infant could already be regenerated.  Now, I'm not saying that some people can't hear the Gospel and be saved at a young age, but without a profession of faith there is no reason to think that a baby has had a spiritual birth.  Doubly so when they have not heard the Gospel from anyone.

Many years ago I heard someone who thought that perhaps someone could be saved only responding to what they knew of God (probably thinking of creation) without hearing the Gospel.  Well, that is a dangerous fantasy, and the Bible makes it clear that faith comes by hearing (the Word of Christ - Romans 10:17).  So, while it might make somebody feel good, we have to stick with what we know of Scripture and the truth and not feelings.

Jesus said to him, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.  John 14:6 NASB

Fairness would be that we would all face God's just wrath, because we rebel against and suppress the truth that we do know. 
I do believe that every person that God has chosen will be regenerated and repent, so in one sense His salvation work is completed by His divine plan and summoning.  This is accomplished though by the means He decrees which is through the proclamation of the Gospel, His regenerating and sanctifying work, His death and resurrection (satisfying of His just wrath against sin), mercy, grace, and the people that He sends out to be disciple makers in the world.

Inclusivism has also been taught by Catholics, Billy Graham, and many others who stray from Scripture to varying degrees...from unbelievers, heretics, and confused Christians.  It is dangerous!

"And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved."  Acts 4:12 NASB


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