Friday, June 30

Regeneration has to do something or it isn't needed.....

Having a correct understanding of the timing, necessity, power, and results of regeneration is important in understanding eternal life. I would make the following comparison with free grace theology and reformed theology on regeneration:

The free grace advocates see saving faith as preceding regeneration which means it really is not needed for salvation although they claim it is necessary. I believe regeneration comes first, which makes it 100 % necessary to salvation. I believe the power of regeneration is required prior to salvation, while they believe salvation can be achieved by human decision with the unaided free will. I believe salvation comes from a free will that flows from a new creation brought about by the awesome power of regeneration. I believe that this power of regeneration will always produce some fruit while they believe it is possible that a saved person will not show any love or obedience to Christ. Their guru, Zane Hodges has even said in a sermon that a preacher friend of his, that has denounced Christ, left the ministry and now openly expresses unbelief, is a saved person and will remain so even if he is never restored to faith. Hodges has also said that a person that has sincerely professed faith in Christ at one time can later deny the deity of Christ and still have eternal life.

In summary they believe regeneration is necessary but that it may show no results. This is pure nonsense. If a person can be saved without regeneration and regeneration in some saved people may accomplish nothing, then in those cases it would not be necessary. However, Jesus in John 3:3 says that that regeneration is necessary, so they have a huge problem to reconcile their theology to the doctrine of regeneration. I would submit that they must either give up saving faith preceding regeneration or the position that regeneration may possibly show no results.

Is it little wonder that advocates of the F.G. movement are at odds with orthodox Christianity. Amazingly, they call the Calvinism view of repentance a work but human generated faith not a work. However, they do affirm selfish works for heavenly rewards as a Biblical concept. They seem to have made a ‘Joseph Smith’ out of Zane Hodges and they expect to be taken seriously.

Wednesday, June 28


Always be on guard from spiritual as well as physical danger...
Satan is a fallen angel. In the garden of Eden, Satan tempted Eve by lying to her about God and the consequences of eating the fruit. Eve and Adam ate the forbidden fruit and plunged the human race into physical and spiritual death. This has brought about a world filled with evil, suffering and woe due to the evil influence of Satan. Satan is real and the Apostle Paul warned us of the spiritual warfare we face… For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms (Ephesians 6:12). After this warning, Paul tells how to take a stand against the devil’s schemes by putting on the full armor of God. These principals are important in resisting Satan since he pretends to be good and can be very deceptive in his temptations… And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. It is not surprising, then, if his servants masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their actions deserve (2 Cor. 11:14-15). With the full armor of truth, righteousness, faith, prayer, readiness, alertness, gospel, peace and the Spirit, a person will be able to resist the devil…. Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you (James 4:7). Any weakness in any of these attributes leaves a person more vulnerable to Satan’s schemes. For example, a weak knowledge of Bible truth or a neglected prayer life would make a person an easier target for the evil one who is always on the prowl looking for someone to devour.

Tuesday, June 27

Revelation or Imagination

While Imagination, dreams and fantasy can be fun for a child playing in a sand pile, such things are dangerous when applied to religious thought and doctrine.

It is popular in today’s culture for people to bypass God’s revelation in the Holy Bible and form opinions based on their own, or someone else’s, imagination or whatever happens to be popular in the current culture. The passage above, from Ezekiel, shows that this is not anything new. Today, people will say things like, “My god is a god …….”, “My god would never…....” or “Paul just didn’t understand…..” and then proceed to proclaim attributes of God and doctrine totally different than what the Bible teaches. When they do this, their god is one of their own imagination which they have created to suit their own needs and desires. Their god is, quite simply, an idol which they have made in their fantasy image. Today, even some ‘Christian’ clergy are involved in relying on their imagination over Biblical teaching. Examples of this would be the Bible’s teaching on marriage between a man and woman, abortion, and Jesus being the only way to salvation. The prophet Jeremiah said…. This is what the LORD Almighty says: “Do not listen to what the prophets are prophesying to you; they fill you with false hopes. They speak visions from their own minds, not from the mouth of the LORD (Jeremiah 23:16). One thing remains true today, and that is anything that is believed or taught which contradicts the Bible comes from someone’s imagination and not from God. A person can choose to believe the Bible or these contradictory opinions. Choose wisely.

Friday, June 23

Jesus Christ

Jesus is the light, put your trust in the light.
WWJD bracelets, signs, etc. have been very visible the last few years in our culture. The question asked is what would Jesus do in this or that situation. While these things have been good in keeping Jesus as the focus of people’s lives, two questions and answers of more importance would be WIJ (Who is Jesus) and WDJD (What did Jesus do). Understanding, believing and trusting in the answers to these questions is the message of the Holy Bible and is crucial to a person receiving the gift of eternal life. The Apostle John tells us that Jesus is God…. In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning (John 1:1-2). Jesus also confirmed that he was God when asked by the high priest, “Are you the Christ?”…..“I am,” said Jesus. “And you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven” (Mark 14:62). The resurrection of Jesus was the proof for this fact, as Paul states in Acts 17:31. In today’s culture we hear a lot about the teachings of Jesus and his love and compassion. He also healed the sick and lame and even raised the dead. While these acts are true and more proof of the deity of Christ, they are not the reason he came to earth. The reason he came to earth was to save his people from their sins….. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins (Matthew 1:21). To make atonement and redeem a people he had to be fully God, so as to give the atonement infinite value, and fully man to perfectly satisfy the requirements of God’s law, thus becoming an acceptable substitute for sinners…. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God (2 Corinthians 5:21). Following the moral and ethical teachings of Jesus is the goal of every Christian, but that cannot save anyone. Trusting, through faith alone in the atonement that Christ made for our sins, has the power to save and is the infinitely most important thing Jesus did while on earth. Praise God for his Grace.

Holy Spirit

View of Pacific Ocean shortly after takeoff from Wake Island showing the surface of the deep.

The third person of the Trinity is first mentioned in the second verse of the Bible. The Holy Spirit is mentioned in both the Old and New Testaments. David in (Psalm 51) pleads with God not to take the Holy Spirit from him. The Holy Spirit is said to reveal things to men, and men are said to be filled with the Holy Spirit. In the book of Acts, men received power from the Holy Spirit. This power from God, The Holy Spirit, is what enables disciples of Jesus Christ to accomplish great things for the Kingdom and glory of God. Being inspired to boldness, encouraged, given faith, instructed are all things the Holy Spirit does. The Holy Bible is God’s Word because of the inspiration and work of the Holy Spirit. The process of regeneration (being born again) is a work of the Holy Spirit, as is sanctification in the life of a Christian. In short, the Holy Spirit was active in creation, writing the Bible and was/is active in God’s providence and salvation. Paul says the following about a person who has the Holy Spirit living in him…. You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ (Romans 8:9).

Saturday, June 17

The family values of the religious left exposed by Jazzy Cat

The following in red are direct quotes from religious left sites.......
On the other hand, I have been starting my Clinical Pastoral Education for the past couple of weeks, working with the
Night Ministry. The Night Ministry is a great program that drives a huge bus around to certain areas of Chicago, offers free, quick HIV/AIDS testing, condoms, cookies, lemonade, coffee, sometimes food and socks if we have it. Condoms rate second to cookies in popularity. Fortunately, the Night Ministry has a government grant to help with the purchase of thousands and thousands of condoms. The catch on the grant is that we can't give them to children younger than 13, who also cannot buy them. I've seen children with children on the routes wanting condoms and we have to say no.

Now there is some evangelism. Delivering condoms in the middle of the night to 13 year olds and wishing the minimum age was lower.

The following is a comment from a mother that approves of this lunacy....
Oh, I definitely would want my 12-year-old daughter to have access to condoms. I would provide them myself.

Unbelievable..... Now there is some family values!!!! Yet, we conservative Christians wonder why the religious and political left don,t understand us. You would think Matthew 18:6 would give pause to this kind of thinking.

Many of the controversies which you have with me, especially my denial of the Trinity as three co-equal persons in the Godhead (which I see as a denial of monotheism, though I know that many theologians do not) and the divinity of Jesus (which is connected to my denial of the Triune nature of God as being polytheistic) are not a part of the teachings of my church. If I said anything like that to my Board of Ordained Ministry it would almost certainly jeopardize my hopes for ordination. No longer pursuing ordination, however, I am free to speak my conscience.

Silly me, In the name of honest disclosure I would have thought that a pastor would have felt it important to acknowledge that he didn't believe in the divinity of Jesus without concern of over his ordination. Oh well, at least he has now come out of the closet and is boldly proclaiming a form of Christianity that does not believe Jesus was divine or the Trinity or hardly anything else in Holy Scripture. However, all was not lost as W.H. learned that his lack of educational training rendered him incapable of interpreting Scripture.

It is enough to make a humble Jazzy Cat lose an hour or two of sleep.

Thursday, June 15

Does regeneration precede faith? part 5

Jazzycat's Post...........

You stated the following:

I don't quite know what to say about your assertion that "faith clearly follows God taking action in this passage." Faith is not mentioned until you get to v. 8, and I am sure you know that the syntax of the nouns, specifically their gender, and the demonstrative pronoun are not "clear." I'll write up another post about this, suffice it to say that there is nothing in the syntax of Ephesians 2:1-8 that will allow you to say that "faith clearly follows God taking action in this passage."

Eph. 2:4-5 But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.

I am stating the following: At the instant God made them alive they were dead in transgressions and were unbelievers and without faith. Unbelievers do not have faith and you have agreed that they are unbelievers. (This text begins with a clear assertion that unbelievers are "dead in trespasses and sins.") You have also agreed that God alone gives life and unbelievers do not have the ability to give themselves life.
(May 3, 7:19 am) So I'm not sure that we differ on our understanding of Ephesians 2:4-5. God alone gives life to the unbeliever; the unbeliever cannot give himself life because he's dead!

Therefore, in v. 4 & 5 God takes action by making unbelievers alive. Since as unbelievers they do not have faith at that point, then faith occurs at some point after “God made alive.” We can debate what dead in transgressions means and demonstrative pronouns in v. 8, but in this passage it is clear that God has acted by making unbelievers (people without faith) alive with Christ. If God first changes people who do not have faith, then it is very clear that this action precedes faith. Faith comes at some point after God has made them alive since they do not have faith when God makes them alive. Does this clear up my assertion that faith follows God’s taking action in this passage?

Considering what you have affirmed about Eph. 2:4-5 above, I am perplexed by your wanting to go to v. 8 and claim that the addition of ‘it is by grace you have been saved’ in verse 5 means they had come to faith even though it is not mentioned. Paul clearly states in v. 5 that nothing has changed from v. 1-3 they were unbelievers then and are unbelievers at the instant they are being made alive. It would have been easy for Paul to write your interpretation into the text. He could have replaced: even when we were dead in transgressions in v. 5, with: when we came to faith. But he didn’t and to assert that ‘even when we were dead in transgressions’ really means ‘when we came to faith’ is the ultimate in forcing Scripture through a theological template. In politics they call it spinning.

Wednesday, June 14

Does regeneration precede faith? part 4

Bud's post...............

You are still suffering from the root fallacy in dealing with "nekros." Words do not have "primary meanings." They have "fields of meaning;" and even if I were to grant the point - that they have a "primary meaning" I would not concede your point that it means "without life" but argue that it means "separation" or "alienation."

I am mystified by your remark about God's "taking the initiative unilaterally..." The parenthetical statement "for by grace you have been saved) at the end of v. 5 is clearly connected with the exact same statement in v. 8 where God's action is clearly conditioned upon the unbeliever's faith.

I don't quite know what to say about your assertion that "faith clearly follows God taking action in this passage." Faith is not mentioned until you get to v. 8, and I am sure you know that the syntax of the nouns, specifically their gender, and the demonstrative pronoun are not "clear." I'll write up another post about this, suffice it to say that there is nothing in the syntax of Ephesians 2:1-8 that will allow you to say that "faith clearly follows God taking action in this passage."

I'm going to resist the temptation to jump to the passages in John you cite because that will only get us sidetracked. We've still got a lot of work to do in Ephesians 2:1-8.

Monday, June 12

Does regeneration precede faith? part 3

Jazzycat's post...............

Your case for death having different meanings depending on the context was well done. However, the primary meaning of death is simply a state of being without life. Physical death would render a person unable to achieve physical life unaided and spiritual death would render a person unable to achieve spiritual life unaided. This is certainly on the table as a possible meaning in this text. You state that Paul is describing their lifestyle by using the word dead, however; in verse 1 he clearly says, “you were dead” and in verse 5 he says that God made them alive and states that God did this while they were still dead in transgressions. It is clear that God took action and changed them without any movement on their part toward God. If faith is not a gift and man is capable on his own to responding with faith why in this passage does God take the initiative unilaterally to make them alive? Faith clearly follows God taking action in this passage.

Perhaps as you did in your post, we should look to other scripture for confirmation of fallen man’s spiritual condition. Can he respond on his own with faith or does God have to take action? If God has to change people’s hearts before they can respond, then they are indeed unable on their own and thus spiritual death must mean an inability to come to faith on their own. Jesus said in John 6:65 He went on to say, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless the Father has enabled him.” That seems clear enough. But, you may say that by reading the Scripture one becomes enabled and can then come to Christ unaided. Well let us look further to what Jesus said in John 6:37 All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away. This verse gives more information that also points to man being incapable (spiritually dead) apart from God’s grace, but further states that the enabling will be 100% effective. From these two verses and John 3:3 we can glean the following:

1. No one can come unless enabled by God. (They are incapable)
2. All that have been given to Christ by the Father will come. (Not everyone is enabled)
3. I will never drive any who come to me away. (Refutes the common misconception of Calvinism that some who want to come are turned away)
4. The way men are enabled is by being born again (regenerated)

Summary of John 3:3, 6:37, & 6:65:All that the Father gives Jesus will come because they have been enabled by the Father through regeneration from a state of Spiritual death which means they are incapable of coming on their own. After this regeneration with power they come willingly to faith due to a new heart of flesh rather than the heart of stone they were born with. This fits perfectly with what Paul is saying in Eph. 2:1-5. Spiritual death = inability. Regeneration precedes faith which makes faith a gift as Ephesians 2:8-9 flat out states. Also see: Rom 8:30, Eph 1:10-11, 2 Thess 2:13-14, John 5:25.

Sunday, June 11

Does regeneration precede faith? part 2

Bud's post...........

It's good to hear from you again. I am sorry that it took me so long to get this post together.

I am glad to see that there is broad agreement between us on what is going on in this passage (Eph. 2:1-5). Paul is indeed describing the former spiritual condition of the Ephesian Chrisitans, who were believers by the time Paul wrote his epistle. And it is clear that any action that was taken, any work that was performed to bring about their salvation was performed only by God.

But I think you've missed the crux of our disagreement.

It is contained in the following two quotes from your reply: "... spiritual death has rendered sinners incapable of responding to the gospel message without God taking action" and "... making them spiritually alive was done so they could respond to the gospel and come to faith ...

"This may be what you believe, but you have not yet produced any exegetical evidence to support that belief. You are assuming that spiritual death means inability and reading it back in to the passage.

None of us are entitled to our own definitions of the words used in the Bible. That is the privilege of the authors who had benefit of the Holy Spirit's guidance as they wrote. Our job is to evaluate the lexicography, the context (at all levels) and the grammar and syntax of the passage under consideration to determine what the human author willed the word(s) under consideration - "death" in this case - to mean.

I've presented evidence that in this passage Paul used the term "death" to signal a lifestyle marked by alienation from and hostility toward God." You are still asserting that "death" means "incapable of responding."

Let' see your evidence.

Just to make the point clear, what I'm specifically interested in is solid exegetical evidence that in this context "death" means "unable to believe.

"We'll get to the grammar of Ephesians 2:8 later, so hold off on that. If you need to mention that as a passing reference in your exposition of the meaning of "death", go ahead, but don't hang your whole case on that for now. We'll get to that passage.

Saturday, June 10

Does regeneration precede faith?

The following is from the comments of Jazzycat from another blog site where he is debating whether regeneration precedes faith which would make faith a gift of God. Jazzycat (actually Jazzycat's humble servant W.H.) is asserting the reformed view that regeneration precedes faith and that faith is a gift of God. Bud is taking the other view. The entire debate can be read at the Altitude site of Bud Brown at.........


One small correction in your explanation of Calvinism…. You said, “God must regenerate so that they can believe and be born again!” Leave off the, “and be born again” and the statement is correct.

I offered the following verses as proof of regeneration preceding faith:

Ephesians 2:1-5 (NIV):As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, 2in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. 3All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath. 4But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.

In verses (1-3) it is clear that Paul is speaking to saved people and he is referring to their condition before they were saved. He describes it as dead in sin and goes on to tell who they followed and what their desires were. This is a clear picture of lost sinners and their desires, thoughts, and actions. Then in verse 4, he explains where their help came from while they were still in this lost condition. He says, “But God, who is rich in mercy” (KJV). They are lost and dead in sin and Paul tell us that God did something in verse 4 because of his love and mercy. He intervened unilaterally. In verse 5 he tells us what he did and re-emphasizes that they were still unsaved and dead in sin when he took action. Paul says that God made them alive with Christ while they were dead and says that this is grace. I believe this passage is clearly teaching that spiritual death has rendered sinners incapable of responding to the gospel message without God taking action. The action he took was clearly that he made them alive. God changed them from being spiritually dead to spiritually alive. This making them alive was done so they could respond to the gospel and come to faith which he goes on to explain in verse 8 & 9. If God making an unsaved sinner alive with Christ in verse 5 is not an example of being born again (regenerated) that Jesus refers to in (John 3:3ff), then I don’t know what is. Jesus goes on and defines it as spirit giving birth to spirit. God making and unsaved sinner alive with Christ sure sounds like spirit giving birth to spirit to me. At birth one becomes alive. Jesus says that spirit gives birth to spirit and Paul says that God made a sinner alive with Christ…. Gives birth/makes alive sure sounds like the same thing. Since verse 5 is not talking about making physically dead people alive, it can only mean that God is making Spiritually dead people alive. This is quite simply the Spirit giving birth which is regeneration.

Therefore, it is clear from Eph. 2:1-5 that God takes unilateral action and changes unsaved people by making them spiritually alive. This grace allows them to respond in faith to the gospel. If these sinners had the ability to respond in faith to the gospel, why did God have to intervene and make them alive. If unsaved sinners have the ability to come to faith without God’s intervention, then verse 4&5 should have said something like the following instead of but God: but you, because of the gospel, came to faith in Jesus and God who is rich in mercy provided this grace due to his great love for us. But it didn’t say that. The exact extent of spiritual death can be debated, but in this passage there is no doubt that God intervened and made unsaved sinners alive with Christ without any cooperation on their part whether or not they were capable. God takes action and saves sinners. The context here would sure suggest that ‘dead in transgressions’ means inability, or else why would they have needed for God to make them alive with Christ. This makes the whole salvation package a gift including the faith to believe.

Saturday, June 3


Meeting with God with a thick cloud over the mountain.
The Bible reveals a lot about God and his attributes, such as the passage above which describes the Israelites trembling at Mt. Sinai. The Westminster Confession describes God as follows: There is but one only living and true God who is: Infinite, perfect, pure spirit, invisible, without body parts or passions, immutable, immense, eternal, incomprehensible, most wise, most holy, most free, most absolute, most righteous, most loving, gracious, merciful, long suffering, abundant in goodness and truth, forgiving iniquity, transgression, and sin, most just and terrible in His judgments, hating all sin, who will by no means clear the guilty. Also, the Confession adds, In the unity of the Godhead there be three persons, of one substance, power, and eternity; God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost. Certainly, the most favorite attribute of God is his love and the Bible tells us that God is love (1 John 4:8). It is certainly popular in America today to proclaim God’s unconditional love. Certainly, his love is enormous and worthy of praise and adoration by his creatures. It is interesting to note that the word unconditional does not appear at all in the Bible but the Bible is full of God’s precepts, commands and, yes, even warnings of wrath and consequences. The word unconditional, when preceding the word love, seems to imply that nothing a human being can do or fail to do will invoke justice, wrath and punishment from God. This, unfortunately, is not true as 2 Thessalonians 1:8-9 makes clear, “He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. 9They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the majesty of his power.” There are many such passages that tell that God will and, indeed, must punish sin. Sinful human beings are left with two choices. One choice is to receive the eternal punishment for their sin themselves. The other choice is to accept God’s grace whereby Jesus Christ receives the punishment for their sins. This atonement by Jesus is a free gift from God that is received through faith. Praise God for his amazing love and grace.

Thursday, June 1


God called the expanse “sky.”
If there was ever a time that nothing existed, there would still be nothing. Something exists; therefore, something must have the power of self-existence and cannot “not be”. Either matter (stuff) has the power of self-existence or a supreme being (God) has this power. To believe that un-intelligent matter has this power is the religion of evolution. To believe that the God of the Bible has this power is the religion of Christianity. The God of the Bible said the following: For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse. 21For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. (Romans 1:20-21)