Thursday, December 15, 2016

Conversion: New Series of Four Articles

Brothers of John the Steadfast has published a series of articles by me on conversion.
The first article surveys the ample fund of Scriptural content showing that prior to regeneration, man lacks the reason or strength to believe in Jesus Christ or come to him. It shows the work of the Holy Spirit through the means of grace to bring sinners to contrition and faith.

The second article simplifies the complicated history of ideas about conversion through church history. It summarizes all the possible positions into a two-by-two arrangement. It uses graphic illustrations to make the subject even easier.

The third article focuses on Reformation churches. It discusses the unrelenting dispute between Calvinists and Arminians over free will. It explains how that really is a myopic dispute, because both sides in it are oblivious to the third way of Lutheran teaching. It shows how the structure of thought in Calvinism and Arminianism is the same, and only Lutheran teaching uses a different structure that delivers on the motto, sola scriptura.

The fourth article addresses a problem with the way we tend to think about the effects of sin: that spiritual death does not really mean death, but some figurative condition. That figurative, not-really-dead condition seems to leave us something we can do, and therefore must do, to cause our conversion to Christ. This error is the source of the monster of uncertainty, or a nagging lack of assurance of salvation, where we are uncertain of what we did for our conversion. The defeat of the monster comes from the Word and faith. By the Word and faith we see death as death both bodily and spiritually, so that there is nothing we can do for our conversion. By the Word and faith we see Christ alone raising us to life by his Word alone. We see him doing this both in resurrection and regeneration. The case of resurrection is used to help clarify the case of regeneration.

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