Friday, May 12, 2006

Unrestrained Theology

Irony abounds in Scripture. The weak are strong. The rich are poor. The wise are foolish. How about this? The deep are shallow. People who go deeper than Scripture for theology will not leave the shallow end no matter how many times they pass the swim test. Count on the wise of the wading pool to use Latin, or at least impressive, yet confounding terminology. You are either monergistic or synergistic which all depends on your ordo salutis. And I just wanted a small coke.

Men who think they are really, really, really sinful, who have a more exalted view of their own depravity than others, do not think they can believe in Jesus Christ. God commands them to believe in Jesus Christ (Acts 16:31), but believing in Him would not be humble enough. They are so, so sinful that they cannot believe in Jesus Christ. For that reason, God must regenerate them before they can believe. How dare they consider themselves able to believe in such a lost condition? Well, actually these really wicked first determined that to believe, a person needed to get baptism as a baby. Dunking babies is kind of mean, and they did sprinkle the blood in the Old Testament, so let's sprinkle the water instead. Now baptizing infants and sprinkling anyone with water are not in the Bible. But remember, we're so, so bad. (Don't get me wrong, I think everyone's a sinner.) So we need to be regenerated before we could ever hope to believe. How about this? Babies get baptized to become regenerate? It's not in the Bible but it could be a way for them to become able to believe in Jesus once they become adults. Their very evil wickedness has them very dead, so dead that they could never believe unless God did something to them to prepare them to believe. The infant sprinkling could do the trick.

That infant sprinkling is kind of embarrassing. It's not in the Bible anywhere, or even better, it isn't sole fide or sole scriptura, so let's just keep the regeneration without having the baptism. Let's just say that someone can't believe unless he is regenerated first. That way we can keep the doctrine that we are so, so bad that we couldn't ever respond. We need regeneration to come first so that we can keep believing that man won't make it without God unconditionally regenerating him first. But the Bible doesn't say that regeneration precedes faith. What does that matter if it fits in with my really, really poor view of man's condition? Well, since regeneration comes before faith, that makes salvation totally up to God; and isn't salvation just completely up to God? Sure it is. If you don't believe that, then you are synergistic, and if you are synergistic then you are Arminian, maybe even Pelagian, possibly even a Los Angeles Laker. No, wait a minute, no one could be as bad as that last designation. I mean, I'm monergistic. It's absolutely no man with me, because man isn't able, you know, which is why regeneration must precede faith. Do you see how this all works? But some of it isn't in Scripture. Sure it is. You just need to study more. You'll see it. Oh, and read Calvin.


Ruth said...

You know Pastor B, I would help you with this but it will take me another week to decipher these words and know what you are saying. Maybe next trip you can give me a hint? None the less I am Anglo American, totally immersed, reborn Child of the King. I just cant think of any other way to put that. My Mother "sprinkled" her clothes before she ironed them; we sprinkle out plants in the winter so they dont freeze; sprinkle cheese over top of our chili and sprinkle a lot of other things....but we dont sprinkle babies...We just simply bathe those sweet things.

Kent Brandenburg said...

Since baby sprinkling isn't in the Bible, Ruth, I'm glad you only sprinkle chili, among those other things. I'm rather arguing against infant sprinkling here.

Chris Topher Myers said...

The only I ever sprinkled on babies was baby powder, but that dosen't make them a judge (Get it powedered wigs...). As for regenerating a baby. That kinda dosen't make much sense either. I mean they were just generated. So, why regenerate them. All well, I'm just simpled I guess. Oh yeah, love the picture Vizzini...

Terry McGovern said...

Great Post!

The Calvinist view of total depravity and need for regeneration before salvation is no where found in the Bible.

As you know, Calvinist believe no one can possible even seek God without first being regenerated. Why? Because of their unscriptural belief in total depravity.

Now, in light of this, I wonder how in the world Nicodemus was able to seek Jesus. Jesus told him he needed to be born again (regenerated). Here is an unregenerate man seeking God! Mabye Nicodemus should have read Calvin’s institutes before trying to seek him! Perhaps he should have checked with Piper, Packer, Pluto first. Did he not realize this is impossible! How could he possible being dead in sins seek God?

As you said, "The deep are shallow."

Rose~ said...

Great post - I have come up totally empty handed every time I try to find that card in the Bible - "regeneration precedes faith" - he is the Jack of Spades - he leans against his comrade, the King of Clubs "total inability" and they depend on eachother to hold up the rest of the house.

Kent Brandenburg said...

Nice card analogy rose. We preachers can relate from our time in Vegas...smiles. I almost always wonder how people that seem so intelligent could fall for a system not based on Scripture. But then, knowledge puffeth up.