March 12, 2008
How Many Angels Can Dance On The Head Of A Pin?
Dorothy Sayers says an infinite number of angels can since they are pure intelligence, not material, but limited, so that they have location in space, but not extension. She ask, how many people's thoughts can be concentrated upon a particular pin at the same time? The same thing could be said for the point of the pin.
In similar thought the question of when regeneration takes place is equally an ontological argument. Clearly Calvinist say Regeneration precedes faith. Any acknowledged response from a depraved human prior to regeneration would detract from God's sovereignty in redemption.
Just as clearly is the Wesleyan belief that faith precedes regeneration. Though humans struggle with free will due to their depravity they are not hindered in their choice for salvation. Both Wesleyans and Calvinist are consistent in their views. There is a logical order that follows their beliefs.
Adrian Rogers would not have been a Calvinist because he believed in free will, however he implied he was not an Arminian and particularly not a Wesleyan. His belief is inconsistent because he couldn't out-right say that faith precedes regeneration. That would make him Wesleyan and not just an Arminian. Wesley was not a true follower of Arminius, yet there are true followers of Arminius who are Reformed Arminian. They hold to free will and total depravity similar to Arminius. They reject eternal security. Dr Rogers was not Reformed Arminian since he adhered by profession to eternal security of the believer. Yet Calvinist believe in perseverance of the saints and thus they believe in eternal security (preservation of the saints).
Reformed Arminians are not semi-pelagian since they hold to total depravity however Wesleyans are semi-pelagian since they hold to a moderated depravity with prevenient grace (pre conversion enablement). Rogers believed in pre conversion enablement (as does the SBC) but was not Wesleyan. So naturally this introduces another variation; Moderate Calvinism. Moderate Calvinist believe in a moderated depravity with enabling grace so they are semi-pelagian (unlike the Reformed Arminians). Unlike the Wesleyans and Reformed Arminians they believe in eternal security.
A unique problem existed for Dr Rogers (I'm sure he has an understanding of it all now). If faith cannot precede (Wesleyanism) regeneration nor can it follow (Calvinism and Reformed Arminianism) regeneration then where does faith fit in? Chronology and logic collide! The inevitable outcome is inconsistency whichever way he turned!
Chronologically speaking a moment of time, "rega" in Hebrew and "atamos" in Greek is the last undivided element (atom) of time. Faith has to exist in that moment or else it takes place afterwards. The Moderate Calvinist create a new element of time denying chronology. A shared element composed of human free will and God's sovereignty. It takes place simultaneously; faith and grace. The dignity of man and the sovereignty of God are preserved. Do you think for a moment that God shares his sovereignty with man? I believe not.
Does this ontological argument make sense? No. Yet listen to preaching from moderates, Calvinist and Arminians, and try to understand what they are saying about the placement of regeneration.
You have to be quick to hear because they will spend minutes exposing texts about depravity and grace and in a quick moment (seconds) he will slip in the simultaneous statement as though that offers him an escape from both Calvinism and Wesleyan Arminianism. Then to further insult your intelligence he will say don't argue with him take it up with God! "This is God's inerrant Word!"