I do not possess a Ph.D. from a prestigious institution. I do not rub elbows with “the gifted teachers” of Lawson’s Reformed “parade.” Jesus warned us against arguing over who is the greatest (Mark 9:33-37). I, however, have reached my conclusions from the Word of God. I do not believe myself to be “wrong” simply because I do not like the smell of tulips.
In Calvinism, Regeneration comes before faith, whereas in Arminianism regeneration comes after faith. In other words, the “timing” of what Scripture describes as the “new birth” is decisive in the debate between Calvinism and Arminianism. In Calvinism, God gives His elect a new birth. This is the result of their effectual calling (sometimes called “irresistible grace”). They cannot and will not resist it, because they see with new eyes. Their new birth creates in them a desire to repent of their sins and place their faith in Jesus Christ.
Since the Calvinist’s analogy can only demonstrate God is the sole creator of life, about which we all agree, and it neither demonstrates nor even suggests that faith results from spiritual birth, I for one believe we should put it to rest. To allow the perpetuation of such a disparate example is to grant Calvinism an undeserved proof every time since it is an undeniable foregone conclusion that faith did not precede the first birth since it did not exist even as a hypothetical possibility.
It would be a cold day in hades before this Tennessee pastor turned my sermon notes and communications over to any government official. I believe thousands of other pastors from Tennessee and the forty-nine other states will join with you in fighting this disgraceful intrusion into your religious liberties and First Amendment rights. Our prayers are already with you!
The separation of church and state means that we will render unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s, and we will. But the preaching of the church of God does not belong to Caesar, and we will not hand it over to him. Not now. Not ever.