Monergistic Circumcision? Is That Really A Thing?! (Deuteronomy 30:6)

Which Comes First?

Does the Bible teach that people must be born again (i.e. regenerated) before they can repent and believe? This has been debated among evangelicals going back to the Reformation, and can be seen even earlier in the writings of Augustine. Calvinists and Lutherans teach monergism, which means they believe people must be born again before a person can repent and believe. Arminians believe that being born again is a divine gift given to people when they place their trust in Christ. In this post we will look at one of the common proof-texts for monergistic regeneration.

Many broken Microphones

Deuteronomy 30:6

6 “And the LORD your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your descendants, to love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, that you may live.

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Rethinking the “Golden Chain” – Romans 8:28-30 (Part 1)

Romans 8:28-30

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.

Calvinism’s Error:

God chose (foreknew) unbelieving individuals and eternally decreed (predestined) that they would be adopted as God’s children. He not only eternally decreed the salvation of these unbelieving individuals, he also drew them to Christ by irresistible grace through new birth (called), after he gave them faith through regeneration he forgave their sins (justified) and will certainly, without any qualifications, raise them from the dead and give them eternal life (glorified).
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Acts 13:48 – A Calvinist Verse? (Part 2)

(This is the second post in a series of posts on Acts 13:48. To read the first post please click here.)

The Greek word “tasso” translated “appointed” or “ordained” in most Bible translations is the cause of many non-Calvinist headaches, though it needn’t be. Many, in an attempt to relieve their aching head, have tried very hard to find various ways to translate this word into something more appealing. But I believe there is plenty of scriptural evidence to show that “appointed/ordained” are valid English translations for Luke’s use of the word. Given that I am almost totally unschooled in biblical Greek many might be tempted to ignore my opinion on this point, I can accept that. And if what I present is at odds with the majority of Greek scholars, I would suggest that would be wise. But thankfully, there is a biblical way to determine what Luke had in mind without knowing the ins and outs of biblical Greek.

Luke uses the same Greek word (tasso) in four places besides Acts 13:48. By looking at how Luke uses the word elsewhere we can get a fairly accurate idea of how he intends to use it in the verse we are considering. Luke uses this particular word more than any other New Testament writer. Paul uses it twice in Romans 13:1 and 1 Corinthians 16:15. Matthew uses it once in Matthew 28:16. But Luke uses it a total of five times (Luke 7:8, Acts 13:48, 15:2, 22:10, and 28:23). So before jumping into the context of Acts 13:48, let’s take a look at these other passages and see how Luke uses the word.
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Acts 13:48 – A Calvinist Verse? (Part 1)

Acts 13:42-52 (English Standard Version)

42 As they went out, the people begged that these things might be told them the next Sabbath. 43 And after the meeting of the synagogue broke up, many Jews and devout converts to Judaism followed Paul and Barnabas, who, as they spoke with them, urged them to continue in the grace of God. 44 The next Sabbath almost the whole city gathered to hear the word of the Lord. 45 But when the Jews saw the crowds, they were filled with jealousy and began to contradict what was spoken by Paul, reviling him. 46 And Paul and Barnabas spoke out boldly, saying, “It was necessary that the word of God be spoken first to you. Since you thrust it aside and judge yourselves unworthy of eternal life, behold, we are turning to the Gentiles. 47 For so the Lord has commanded us, saying, ‘I have made you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth.’” 48 And when the Gentiles heard this, they began rejoicing and glorifying the word of the Lord, and as many as were appointed to eternal life believed. 49 And the word of the Lord was spreading throughout the whole region. 50 But the Jews incited the devout women of high standing and the leading men of the city, stirred up persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and drove them out of their district. 51 But they shook the dust from their feet against them and went to Iconium. 52 And the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.

The Issues with the Verse

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A Much Abused Passage – Ephesians 2:1-10 (Part 2)

The Gift of God

In the last post we looked at Ephesians 2:1-7 and asked whether Calvinism’s claim of regeneration before faith is taught in that passage; by comparing it with a similar passage in Colossians 2:12-13 we saw that Paul taught people are “raised up with Christ” through faith during baptism in water. In this post we want to look at a couple more verses in Ephesians chapter 2 that have been used as Calvinistic proof texts.

Ephesians 2:8-9

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one can boast.

The Calvinist logic on these two verses is simple. Faith is a gift from God. But even more, it is a gift that we cannot reject. Simply put, no one can believe in Christ except those who are given the gift of faith, and those who are given the gift of faith by God’s unilateral grace cannot resist it.
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A Much Abused Passage – Ephesians 2:1-10 (Part 1)

Ephesians 2:1-10

“And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience- among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, being rich in mercy, because of his great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ- by grace you have been saved- and raised us up with him and seated us with him in heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness towards us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one can boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”


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