The “Ordo Salutis” And Monergism: The Case For Faith Preceding Regeneration, Part 2 -- By: R. Bruce Compton

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 175:698 (Apr 2018)
Article: The “Ordo Salutis” And Monergism: The Case For Faith Preceding Regeneration, Part 2
Author: R. Bruce Compton


The “Ordo Salutis” And Monergism: The Case For Faith Preceding Regeneration, Part 2*

R. Bruce Compton

* This is the second article in a three-part series offering exegetical support for a Calvinist soteriology that places faith logically before regeneration. An earlier version of this article was presented at the 67th annual meeting of the Evangelical Theological Society in Atlanta, Georgia, November 17, 2015.

R. Bruce Compton is Professor of Biblical Languages and Literature and New Testament Chair at the Detroit Baptist Theological Seminary, Allen Park, Michigan.

Abstract

Theologians who argue that regeneration logically precedes faith in the ordo salutis frequently use John 1:12–13; 5:24–25, and 1 John 5:1a to support their position. However, careful exegesis of these verses suggests that such arguments fall short and that John in fact sees faith as preceding regeneration. The third and final article in this series will explore the writings of Paul, define illumination, and assess the place of faith preceding regeneration in a Calvinist soteriology.

The New Testament texts at the forefront in the debate over the ordo salutis are John 1:12–13; 5:24–25; Ephesians 2:5–8a; Colossians 2:11–13a; and 1 John 5:1a.1 These verses link word groups involving regeneration with those involving repentance or faith, marking them as the key texts in the debate.

Other passages in the New Testament use words for regeneration but lack references to repentance or faith.2 This article discusses the passages from John and the Johannine epistles that contribute to the debate over the ordo salutis. The third and final article in the series will address the relevant Pauline texts, define illumination to distinguish it from regeneration, and assess the viability of faith preceding regeneration in a Calvinist soteriology.

John 1:12–13

The first relevant passage from John is located in his prologue, where John identifies Jesus as the incarnate Son of God and introduces a number of key themes that resurface throughou...

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