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Thread: What does the word "means" mean to you?

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    What does the word "means" mean to you?

    Bob,

    I think a good discussion on the word "means" is in order. I've heard some free grace preachers say that men are regenerated via the means of the Gospel. Others state that NO MEANS are used. I believe that Holy Spririt regeneration is primarily epistemological, or in other words, regeneration and Holy Spirit baptism comes primarily in the form of knowledge.... GOSPEL Propositions that is.

    Your wrote on another thread: https://www.pristinegrace.org/forum/...ll=1#post58011

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Higby
    Because scripture teaches that Holy Spirit regeneration is 'without means', I do not accept most notions of re-baptism of those formerly baptized as professors.

    I agree that regeneration does not come in the form of baptism or communion or anything that is DONE. However, Gospel preaching IS used by the Holy Spirit to convict. But there are some primitive baptists that would take offense and say that this is the "means" heresy. They believe the Holy Spirit regenerates people metaphysically and the Gospel is not needed or used in regeneration. That the person is now "ready" to hear the Gospel - but what this regeneration is is not really discussed. They just get all bent out of shape at the "means" preachers who say the Gospel is used in regeneration. In other words, it's another issue to divide over.

    Many years ago I wrote an article on it.. You can read it here:

    Mysticism is the order of the day when most talk about the Holy Spirit. And I’m not just talking about charismatics. I’m talking about most evangelicals. You know, baptists, presbyterians, methodists… and yes, of course “calvinists.”

    So what do we know that's metaphysical about The Holy Spirit? Well, for starters, He is omnipresent. In other words, He is everywhere at once. He is actively involved with every single activity in this world. God, the Holy Spirit is actively spinning the electrons around the protons and neutrons in the molecules that make up the screen you’re using to read this article. Whether or not you’re one of His chosen people, the Holy Spirit is actively holding your eyeballs in your sockets.

    So if the Holy Spirit is everywhere, how is it that He is able to indwell believers? And why isn't it metaphysical? Well, the answer lies in how he indwells His people. Most professing Christians speak of a metaphysical and/or mystical indwelling that they have difficulty explaining. More often than not, they’ll tell you that one can tell the Holy Spirit is indwelling you by feeling “something”. What that “something” is, they have difficulty putting into words. It’s a mystery they say! “Just believe what I say and you too can get this wonderful feeling.. It doesn’t matter if it doesn’t make any sense to you. Just ‘let go and let God’. See, the Holy Spirit will speak to you in a small voice when you’re really quiet and you can just hear him ‘talking’.”

    Nothing could be further from the truth. I propose the error lies first in the fact that religionists everywhere haven't even thought about this. I’m serious! All of us are born into the world as ignorant people. We don’t, nor can we think rationally. The idea of logically trying to solve this problem (scripturally of course) has escaped the thought of most professing christians. Why? Well that’s a topic for another article. But I digress! The error also lies in the fact that men have ignored the plain teaching of Scripture. They don’t understand the Gospel of an accomplished redemption in Christ alone. They just don’t understand the Gospel, and therefore the God of the Gospel is unknown to them. They speak of a different holy spirit, a figment of one’s imagination, something more akin to casper the friendly ghost.

    I propose that the Holy Spirit works in His elect people is primarily epistemological, or in other words, He works in the form of knowledge - propositional knowledge that is! He convicts by revealing knowledge. He reveals the truth to His people. Ethically, He teaches us what is right and wrong. I’m not at all denying the metaphysical supernatural events performed by the Holy Spirit, or that He supernaturally causes our brains to comprehend and understand this knowledge. I’m simply suggesting that the indwelling of the Holy Spirit is primarily epistemological.

    Rom 12:2, (KJV), And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

    Eph 3:6, (KJV), That the Gentiles should be fellow heirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel:

    1 Cor 2:11-16, (KJV), For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. (12) Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. (13) Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. (14) But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. (15) But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man. (16) For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? but we have the mind of Christ.

    I now also propose that regeneration is also an epistemological process. The conditional primitive baptists teach that men are privatisticly or metaphysically regenerated and may not have any knowledge of any Gospel propositions before conversion. Classical calvinists teach that regeneration occurs right at conversion - that regeneration is dependent upon knowledge of the Gospel. I disagree with both teachings! I believe that regeneration is a process that takes place in the life of the elect individual sometimes starting long before they are converted. But it is mostly an epistemological process. The Holy Spirit reveals pieces of the truth before revealing the full truth of the Gospel of Justification by grace alone without conditions. For example, how can one know what salvation is unless of course he knows what sin is? How can one know who Christ is unless He understands who God is, and how can one understand who God is unless they know what His attributes are? Regeneration isn’t just single event! It’s a series of events, and starts in the womb for many of His elect people. John the Baptist for example lept in Elizabeth’s womb for joy (Luke 1:44). The hand of the Lord is upon His people from before they are born and throughout their entire lives even before conversion. His love for them is unending, and He is in the process of preparing them for Gospel conversion their whole lives before they are actually converted to the truth in its Gospel fullness.


    I believe the camps, the anti-means men, and the Gospel regeneration camp (those the anti-means men would call means men) BOTH believe in salvation by Grace alone and without works. They would not see faith as a work, but they have a different opinion on what Holy Spirit regeneration is.. Is Holy Spirit regeneration an epistemological process - or not? I fall into the camp that YES, God does use Gospel Propositions and Gospel preaching to REGENERATE His people. I do not believe this makes me a "means man." But others would disagree. Yes, the quickening is all supernatural, He prepares the minds for the receiving of the Gospel. But is regeneration the preparation of the mind, or is it the receiving of the Gospel, or is it both? Anyway, I would appreciate your thoughts on this important matter. Thanks. - Brandan

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    Thank you for opening this important subject. As it happens, Bob's expression 'without means' caught my attention too. However, I take a different view to you on what regeneration is, so I'd like to add my two cents.

    I fully accept that God uses his word to convict; it is, after all, a two-edged sword (Hebrews 4:12). Also, scripture teaches that the Spirit reproves the world of sin, righteousness and judgement (John 16:8).

    However, I wouldn't call any of that regeneration. I basically believe that regeneration is the creation of a new heart that trusts in God.

    So I don't believe God uses the gospel to regenerate his people, or give them new hearts. But when they hear the gospel, God gives them ears to hear, and new hearts to believe that what they're hearing is true. In other words, I believe regeneration accompanies the preaching of the gospel, but is not causally affected by the preaching of the gospel.

    Since I take regeneration to mean the creation of a new heart that trusts in God, I should also define "trust" or "faith" from a Biblical standpoint. When it comes to the meaning of "faith" (as in, "saved by grace, through faith") I believe this is best defined as trusting in God. Faith is the natural assurance of the heart that everything God says and does is good and true. So I don't believe, in other words, that faith inherently means, "believing the gospel." I would rather say it means, "believing on God." The distinction is as follows: one who believes on God believes that whatever God says is true, because God is true. One who believes the gospel accepts merely that a specific message happens to be true.

    As I said before, God tends to regenerate men who have heard the gospel, and in this sense (only), the preaching of the gospel is a means of salvation. For the unregenerate, God begins working in their life, causes them to come across his central message (the gospel), begins to show them the truth of it as it relates to their own lives (even while they have an unregenerate heart that rejects these revelations), and then one day, miraculously, he gives them a new heart to trust him completely (regeneration), and they trust him and trust that his message is true. They now know they are saved. They have the assurance of faith.

    I ask you to examine Abraham's faith. Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness. The specific message that Abraham had been given was that one who would come from his own body would be his heir, and his offspring would be as the stars of the sky (Genesis 15:4-6). So when it says Abraham believed God, its saying that he trusted that God is true, and this was reckoned to him as righteousness.

    Paul says that the gospel is God's power to salvation to everyone who believes. But remember the context here. Paul was speaking about the gospel as an instrument ordained of God to be preached by his holy apostles to the nations, to bring to them the knowledge of God. In other words, the hearing of the gospel was the way in which many of the gentiles heard of God. They were used to hearing of that which is not God. Now they were hearing of the true God, his nature and attributes, and what better revelation of the nature of God is there, than the gospel, which speaks not only of God's power and authority, but also, supremely, of his love? Paul later asked, "How then shall they call upon him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe on him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without one who preaches?" The gospel was the means by which people heard of God.

    So its not that believing the gospel, specifically, is "faith" but rather, faith is trusting in God, and those who have been given hearts to trust in him (regenerated/born again) believe the gospel they have heard, or sometimes, they believe in God first, and go onto believe the gospel when they hear it.

    For examples of the latter case, in scripture, I'd point to both David and the same example you used, John the Baptist, who were regenerate from the womb. They were born again, before they were born! David said, "But thou art he that took me out of the womb; thou didst make me trust, upon my mother's breasts" (Psalm 22:9) and, "thou art my God from my mother's belly" (Psalm 22:10). He said, "Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings hast thou established praise" (Psalm 8:2). Elizabeth said of her son John, "behold, as the voice of thy salutation sounded in my ears, the babe leaped with joy in my womb" (Luke 1:44). These little babies knew they were surrounded by an almighty power, one that controlled everything, one who was all-good, and one they could trust. They had faith. They were already converted from darkness to light. They didn't know all the doctrines and propositions of the gospel. But what they believed in was their God!

    ---

    Sorry if this post wasn't very helpful/didn't address the question adequately enough.
    Last edited by alt731; 01-15-19 at 04:36 PM.
    I don't like being corrected, but don't worry about that, do it anyway. I'll get over it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by alt731 View Post
    I fully accept that God uses his word to convict; it is, after all, a two-edged sword (Hebrews 4:12). Also, scripture teaches that the Spirit reproves the world of sin, righteousness and judgement (John 16:8).

    However, I wouldn't call any of that regeneration. I basically believe that regeneration is the creation of a new heart that trusts in God.
    But how is that done without Gospel propositions? How can one trust in God unless they know who He is? Certainly impartation of knowledge is used to do this.... Meaning, it's epistemological.

    Quote Originally Posted by alt731
    When it comes to the meaning of "faith" (as in, "saved by grace, through faith") I believe this is best defined as trusting in God. Faith is the natural assurance of the heart that everything God says and does is good and true.
    I'd go even further and suggest that it's simple belief - mental assent to Gospel propositions.

    Quote Originally Posted by alt731
    So I don't believe, in other words, that faith inherently means, "believing the gospel." I would rather say it means, "believing on God."
    But believing in God means to believe the Gospel.

    Quote Originally Posted by alt731
    The distinction is as follows: one who believes on God believes that whatever God says is true, because God is true. One who believes the gospel accepts merely that a specific message happens to be true.
    One who believes that the Gospel propositions are true is a believer in the Gospel and inherently trusting in God. I don't think you can separate the two.

    Quote Originally Posted by alt731
    As I said before, God tends to regenerate men who have heard the gospel, and in this sense (only), the preaching of the gospel is a means of salvation.
    Amen - agree with that. But HOW does God regenerate His elect? What does it mean to "open the heart" (as in the case of Lydia the seller of purple)? Acts 16:14

    Quote Originally Posted by alt731
    For the unregenerate, God begins working in their life, causes them to come across his central message (the gospel), begins to show them the truth of it as it relates to their own lives (even while they have an unregenerate heart that rejects these revelations), and then one day, miraculously, he gives them a new heart to trust him completely (regeneration), and they trust him and trust that his message is true. They now know they are saved. They have the assurance of faith.
    Sounds to me like an epistemological process.


    Quote Originally Posted by alt731
    Sorry if this post wasn't very helpful/didn't address the question adequately enough.
    John, thank you very much for taking the time to comment. Hopefully we can learn from each other. I do appreciate your post. - Brandan

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    Hi Brandon,

    So, in response, I'd delineate between trusting in God from trusting in the gospel in this way:

    When we trust in God, we're trusting that in a being who is all powerful, whose nature is love, who is good and in him is no lie. You can call this propositional knowledge if you like. I'm not fussed what it gets called. But whatever it is, I believe both David and John the baptist had it from the womb. As I quoted, "thou didst make me trust, upon my mother's breasts" (Psalm 22:9) and, "thou art my God from my mother's belly" (Psalm 22:10).

    When we trust in the gospel, we're trusting specifically that Christ died for the redemption of his people, that on account of his redemption all the blessings of God flow forth to his people.

    So I'd say, trusting in God is not the same as trusting in the gospel. I don't believe Mary and Joseph, for example, knew that their son (/son in law) would die on a cross. They knew that God was good, and I'm sure they trusted that as a consequence of their sin, they needed a redeemer, and that God was going to provide one. But even these consequences, which can fairly be called 'believing the gospel' are not exactly what I mean by trusting in God.

    I suppose that one who trusts in God does trust that God has dealt with their sin, in some way. They know that they are safe in God, and sinful and nothing without God. So in that sense, those who trust in God trust in the gospel. But all that, I believe, is known and felt, even in the spirits of tiny little babies, who are regenerate from the womb. But the specifics of how it is all worked out, the exact propositions of the gospel, which get preached in church, about the blood, and about the death and about the resurrection, I wouldn't count all that as included in belief in God.

    I'd say that those who are regenerate from the womb, believe in God, but they haven't yet heard the gospel. Nevertheless, they have ears to hear and hearts to understand, and they will end up believing God's word when they hear it, knowing the authority and power of it in their souls, with the conviction of the Holy Spirit, and that it corresponds perfectly with their experience, and they will believe the gospel at that time.
    I don't like being corrected, but don't worry about that, do it anyway. I'll get over it.

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    Hi Vadim,

    I would agree that the gradual revelation of knowledge to the elect individual does not result in partial life in Christ. It's just a gradual revelation of propositions. But I remain unconvinced that this entire time in the life of the elect individual is not used by God for this person's eventual regeneration and faith. Maybe not knowledge of God is revealed, but the person is spending a good time getting to know who they are themselves (though they know NOT who they are in the Grand scheme of things). They are living a life of continual sin, and are hopelessly dead. When we are brought to faith in Christ, all of these sinful events are used by God. Salvation is to be saved from one's sin (Mat 1:21). When faced with the revelation of the Gospel, we each personally know in great detail many of our transgressions.

    Quote Originally Posted by John Calvin
    “Nearly all the wisdom we possess, that is to say, true and sound wisdom, consists of two parts: the knowledge of God and of ourselves. But, while joined by many bonds, which one precedes and brings forth the other is not easy to discern.”
    When I get time later today I'll write more... The question I have is, HOW did the Lord open the heart of Lydia? What knowledge did Lydia possess at the time? I agree that she was not regenerate. But is regeneration a single MOMENT? Even when we flip a switch, there is a process involved. It may seem like a short while, but each move of the switch is a process to go from off to on. How does God, the Holy Spirit do this?

    Next we deal with John the Baptist who leapt for joy in his mother's womb... Was he regenerate at the time?

    Thank you dear brother for posting! It is so nice to see! Please help me to learn more of the truth.

    Brandan

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    Wow, great discussions again that I have missed for years as P-Net dwindled down in activity!

    So what shall we say about regeneration being an epistemological process? Right now it is 3 A.M. where I am so I will only present talking points:

    1. Regeneration 'without means' simply refers to the fact that the Holy Spirit makes a person anew without depending on any other human resource, even preaching of the Word. When Christ told Nicodemus 'except a person be born of water and wind he/she will not enter the kingdom of God', he referred to the fact that the work of the Spirit depends on no human activity or resources. God regenerates a person to be able to recognize and receive truth in an instant (like physical birth is at a point in time), not in a process.

    2. Epistemological knowledge is indeed a process and follows this regeneration. For some it starts with conviction of a supreme God who takes care of everything for salvation without knowing the details of how (example: the OT worshipers of one infinite personal God who looked forward to redemption God's way but didn't know exactly how it would all be carried out in Christ). For others it starts with knowledge of aspects of gospel truth without yet having full assurance of faith. The actual public declaration of justification by God of a human soul, in the presence of the heavenly angels and saints as well as the conscience of believers, is not the same event as regeneration--it is the result of regeneration. We do not know what the gap in time is between regeneration and the full assurance of faith in connection with gospel knowledge I tend to believe it is not great in most cases but cannot really say that for sure.

    Hard stuff, I admit! Looking forward to further enlightenment. Btw, on the issue of epistemology I can't think of a better work than Dr. Robert Reymond's "The Justification of Knowledge" published in the 1970's, it is available online!

    Bro. Bob

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    Thank you Bob, you are always quite clear and easy to understand. Here is a link to the pdf you mentioned: http://www.sgbcsv.org/literature/Jus...fKnowledge.pdf

    I'm looking forward to understanding more!

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    Bob you wrote:
    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Higby
    1. Regeneration 'without means' simply refers to the fact that the Holy Spirit makes a person anew without depending on any other human resource, even preaching of the Word. When Christ told Nicodemus 'except a person be born of water and wind he/she will not enter the kingdom of God', he referred to the fact that the work of the Spirit depends on no human activity or resources. God regenerates a person to be able to recognize and receive truth in an instant (like physical birth is at a point in time), not in a process.
    So this "light switch" that the Lord turns on in the mind/affections of the individual, what is it exactly? Is it epistemological or metaphysical? Even babies who aren't born have life, they just aren't able to breathe - is this the analogy you are referring to? When we are born again, our "brain-heart-lungs" can now breathe the fresh air of the Gospel? Many thanks!

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    Means are discussed in this thread: https://www.pristinegrace.org/forum/...l-in-this-Life

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    Quote Originally Posted by Simplici View Post
    1) Scripture clearly shows that natural man is spiritually dead and his carnal mind is hostile to God.
    Agree!

    2) Scripture clearly shows that the external preaching of the word without the work of God in the heart of man for the regeneration of his heart does not lead to faith in the word
    Agree!

    3) Scripture clearly shows that the birth from above (regeneration) is a direct action of God without means.
    Agree!

    4) Scripture clearly shows that God in regeneration gives the elect a new heart and a new spirit, taking from their flesh a heart of stone and giving a heart of flesh.
    Agree, but what exactly is that "heart of flesh?" The heart in my opinion is the "affections" of a man. But what are affections? Aren't affections caused by revelation? And what is revelation? It's the revealing of knowledge (supernaturally of course!)

    5) Scripture clearly shows that the main result of regeneration is the acquisition of a new human heart that is able to believe in Christ through the word
    Agree. Again though, what is that new heart? Is it metaphysical, or is it a mind / epistemological change?

    (6) Scripture clearly shows that faith in Christ is the assurance of the heart of the believer that all the promises were fulfilled by God in Christ personally for him.
    Agree! This is belief in Gospel propositions. Mental assent to truth. 100% epistemological.

    7) the Scriptures unambiguously testify that through faith in Christ we come to the only true knowledge of God, as our eternally loving Father, who is the Light and in whom there is no darkness.
    Agree!

    8) from all the above it is obvious that the fundamental difference between a natural man and a regenerated man lies in their hearts.
    And what exactly is that heart? Is not the heart part of the mind?

    a) Natural man has a heart of stone unable to believe the word
    Right - he is unable to know the truth. His mind and affections and the heart are at enmity with God. This appears to be 100% epistemological to me as well. Unless someone can explain how it's metaphysical - or something that is in between epistemological and metaphysical.

    b) a Regenerated person has a new heart able to believe the word
    Again, what is that new heart?

    9) since Scripture clearly shows that God's work of replacing the heart of stone with the heart of flesh is God's direct work without means, it is clearly God's supernatural work.
    Oh no doubt about it, it definitely is supernatural. Epistemological processes can be supernatural, don't you think?

    10) since regeneration is a supernatural work of God then it logically and inevitably follows that the natural mind is beyond the knowledge of the way in which God carries out this work.
    Maybe the finer points! God is directing ALL things, and he causes our mind to comprehend. That is supernatural. God directly puts information into our minds. But this information comes in the form of words - implantation of knowledge is epistemological - and supernatural.

    11) Scripture does not reveal to us the way God does the work of regeneration
    Maybe not directly... I'm not ready to concede this point yet Vadim...

    12) since Scripture does not reveal to us the way in which God performs the work of regeneration, it follows logically that even a regenerated mind is unable to comprehend this way.
    Look at this: Eph 4:18-19, (KJV), Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart: (19) Who being past feeling have given themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness.

    Jn 12:40, (KJV), He hath blinded their eyes, and hardened their heart; that they should not see with their eyes, nor understand with their heart, and be converted, and I should heal them.

    This too seems like it's epistemological. God actively hardens the heart - he causes men to believe in lies. He further shuts them up in their epistemological prison.

    13) ERGO: the Way God regenerates man is incomprehensible to both the natural mind and the regenerated mind. It is the mystery of the GREATNESS of GOD!
    Again, I agree, it's not conceivable to the unregenerate mind. To the regenerate mind... I'm not ready to concede this point entirely...

    Thanks for the discussion all the brothers!
    I think I need to read Robert Reymond's book that Bob recommended. Maybe my brain has been infected with too much platonism! Thank you dear brother Vadim. Much love to you in Christ!

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    Brandon, whatever it is, I don't think it is Greek Platonic thought!

    Vadim said, Scripture does not reveal to us the way God does the work of regeneration. And my conviction is that this is the crux of the issue. I do not have a problem with the fact that regeneration is a mystery of God that we cannot explain how it works, since it is prior to even the first illumination of logical epistemological truth (whether that is preparatory to gospel knowledge or actual gospel knowledge when the Word is communicated). What I teach against strongly is the notion of paradox in connection with 'mystery', the idea that propositions regarding the truth of God can contradict one another and that these contradictions must be accepted without the need to explain and resolve. Paradox in this sense is pure evil.

    Metaphysics? Wow, too many definitions out there (contradictory) to really answer your question. If we go with this one: Metaphysics is a major branch of philosophy. It concerns existence and the nature of things that exist. Altogether it is a theory of reality. Ontology is the part of metaphysics which discusses what exists: the categories of being, then I really have no problem with issues with regeneration being metaphysical. But I do not use the word to try and teach what the reality is because there are too many paradoxical contradictions out there on what metaphysics consists of.

    Bro. Bob

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    A good question to focus on, isn't the very first acceptance of REAL epistemological truth dependent on Holy Spirit regeneration having occurred beforehand? I guess the real issue here is whether we can pinpoint the timing of regeneration to ALWAYS occur immediately before an epistemological experience. What does the Bible say about this (I'm not giving answers right now as I have to study further). --Bob

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    Thanks so much in the Lord Simplici!

    We had a thread way back in 2004 on the issue of "Does God Observe the Law of Contradiction". A contributor to our forum at that time happily answered 'yes' and I challenged this notion very firmly, quoting a former Australian colleague of mine who had left gospel faith and promoted this humanist 'law of contradiction':

    The universe is both planned and unplanned, fixed in purpose and yet open, operating according to both absolute law and no law at all, beautiful in its harmony yet awful in its unpredictability, predestined but constantly subject to undetermined change.

    So I cannot provide a better example of the ultimate conclusions of paradox theology than this, it is a truly classic example!

    Bro. Bob

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    Brandan (01-17-19)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Higby View Post
    Brandon, whatever it is, I don't think it is Greek Platonic thought!
    I was referring to this: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anamnesis_(philosophy)

    In philosophy, anamnesis (/ˌænæmˈniːsɪs/; Ancient Greek: ἀνάμνησις) is a concept in Plato's epistemological and psychological theory that he develops in his dialoguesMeno and Phaedo, and alludes to in his Phaedrus.
    It is the idea that humans possess innate knowledge (perhaps acquired before birth) and that learning consists of rediscovering that knowledge within us.
    While I don't agree with that quote and consider it to be pagan, I do believe the Lord gives us knowledge all throughout life even before regeneration and that belief can and does utilize this knowledge. (example: words, and their meanings). I also believe regeneration utilizes this knowledge, and while the person may not be regenerate, the Holy Spirit enlightens the individual and re-assembles this knowledge within the mind. That is why I called regeneration a process - because in order for the mind and affections to change, it would stand to reason to me that knowledge would already exist within the mind of the elect individual so that it can be re-assembled and understood. In other words, enlightened. And that process would begin as the Holy Spirit led that individual to acquire that knowledge prior to the "re-assembling" if you will.

    OK, you may all think I'm crazy, but that's how I've understood it, and that's part of what I meant when I wrote that article earlier in this thread. I put myself out here for correction and teaching.

    But is this pre-regenerate knowledge "means?" I don't think it is.

    Thanks, Brandan

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    Vadim, this is very good, thank you. No need to apologize, I am just very thrilled that you are here and communicating. I wish I could speak to you, but I am content to know that we can at least communicate via written word for now. You are doing so well for having such a large language barrier. We understand you very very well.

    I am looking forward to your next part in the confession. Bro. Brandan

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    Thanks to both of you (Brandan and Vadim). Wow, a lot to think through and respond to here!

    Knowledge is part of the nature of the human being, so I don't agree with Gordon Clark that knowledge is possible only for the regenerate. So I agree with Robert Reymond in the Justification of Knowledge (where he challenges Gordon Clark on this, though he is a Clarkian on the issue of the incomprehensibility of God) that there is a reasoning and logic instilled in mankind that is not dependent on gospel regeneration. Both the regenerate and unregenerate can know that blue eyes are blue (one of Reymond's points)!

    Brandan, yes, what you cited from the Greek philosophers illustrates exactly why I did not think you were getting your ideas from them!

    Vadim, "Therefore, logic and its laws are the creation of God, and they are not identical to his essence. God is ABSOLUTELY FREE! Accordingly, God is not accountable to any laws of logic" .

    On this one I would propose that we have to distinguish clearly between the logic of unregenerate philosophers (there is MUCH, of course) and that of regenerate believers. Yes, there is no created law of God that he is bound by. However, I would point out that since God thinks and feels emotionally in an immutable manner (another point where I agree with Reymond and not Clark), these are expressions of His actual nature which is immutable: God never has variations in what or how He thinks and feels! He acts out of the constraint of His own nature, He cannot do otherwise! So where I might agree that God is absolutely free where man is not free in the sense that his purposes and actions are beyond the right of any creature to criticize, there is a restraint to the the notion that God is free (i.e., He cannot deny himself, He cannot hate himself, He cannot sin against Himself, and most importantly in this focus, He cannot think and act contrary to His nature!). So if we accept that God is absolutely immutable, then there is a restraint on the notion that He has the absolute free-will that creatures do not have. Regenerate beings even in eternity future will not have free-will except to live according to God's eternal purposes for them. Likewise, God is free only to think and act according to the restraint of His essential nature.

    Whatever we think of Gordon Clark's views on the importance of logic (these are indeed philosophical and not always based on the views of regenerate philosophers), the essence of his though is that when God has revealed propositions of truth in the revelation of scripture, He thinks exactly as man is exhorted to think and his thoughts are not incomprehensible to the regenerate! I have to agree with that, otherwise God's revelation makes no sense at all.

    Some of what I have said here recently may be contrary to what I might have supported in past writing, I admit. I have come to deny the distinction between pre-regenerate and regenerate knowledge of gospel truth. And I affirm that the very first correct epistemological notion in a soul that has anything to with the way of the gospel is dependent on regeneration having already occurred as a strict miracle of God dependent on no means. To give a simple illustration: the miracle of Christ changing water into wine cannot be logically explained as Gordon Clark tries to do so. It was not a stealing of one or more person's wine somewhere else and switching the water with this. It was a true miracle of changing water into alcoholic wine, a new material creation like the manna of old and the fish and bread supplied by Christ when he fed the multitudes having no lunch.

    Bro. Bob

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    Brandan (01-18-19)

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    Vadim. I believe you are jumping to hasty conclusions about what Bob thinks. Give Bob an opportunity to respond. He is not saying God is not free to do as He wills. He is saying God is not free to do something He has determined not to do. God does not change. He is immutable. This is not saying God is restrained but that God does what He says.

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    Hello again in Christ Vadim.

    But that's exactly what Gordon Clark unfortunately does in his essay God and Logic. In the end, he gets the "God" of the pagan philosopher Hegel, not the God of the Scriptures. It was Hegel who taught that God in his bare essence is pure Logic. Logic and its laws ("the law of contradiction") are part of the created reality. God is the Creator of reality and he is transcendent to it.

    I agree with you that Clark uses the arguments of Hegel in his teaching, he was a philosophy professor for a large portion of his earthly career at Butler U. What I don't believe, based on reading all of Clark's Ancient Philosophy, Historiography Secular and Religious, and portions of others is that Clark stops at Hegel. Like you, I disagree with his thesis that "God is logic and logic is God" since the laws of logic are part of the creation and are not equal to the Creator. Nonetheless, I think we currently have a difference on the nature of God's revelation in the scriptures and whether this revelation actually reveals the thinking of God in specific propositions, the content of which God does not think otherwise with regard to the essence of the truths revealed therein. Yes, there is infinite mystery beyond what is in that revelation that we do not currently understand and an infinite amount beyond as creatures we will never understand, since He is the infinite God that transcends all limitations of creature thought.

    Also, I stand by my qualification to the proposition that God is absolutely free: he cannot deny Himself, he cannot fail, he cannot lie, he cannot sin against Himself, he cannot act contrary to His own nature and disposition (a factor in His immutability). So if we believe all of those things that God cannot do are true as revealed in the scriptures He has given to mankind, I affirm the in infinity of God beyond all of that: in his transcendent essence He is absolutely free to act as He pleases.

    Bro. Bob

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    Vadim, I am riveted. Please take your time and provide your arguments against this position while still maintaining God's immutability.

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    Hi again Vadim. I am not offended by or disappointed in anything you have said, I'm starting to believe (contrary to before) that there really is some difference of language involved (I don't know for sure). I certainly feel little affinity to the church 'fathers', most scholastics, and R.C. Sproul who changed so many times I cannot pin down where he stood on many issues. Anyway, my continuing compassion for you as a brother in Christ is sure and certain!

    I do think Brandan has perceived the crux of where there might be a 'debate' here in the sense that some notions of the 'absolute freedom' of God in His infinity definitely compromise His immutability.

    Bro. Bob

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