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JaySaved
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Joined: 2005/7/11
Posts: 1131
Kentucky

 Prevenient Grace

I submit the following hoping that all of us grow in our knowledge of God and His amazing work in salvation. I state for the record, I am not a hyper-Calvinist. I affirm that man is responsible for his actions and that God is sovereign in salvation.

The following is from David Kirkwood's article entitled The Five Points of Calvinism Considered

Quote:
Total Depravity and Irresistible Grace
Let us first consider points one and four of Calvinism’s TULIP: Total Depravity and Irresistible Grace. Without a doubt they are intrinsically linked, and thus it is almost impossible to consider one without mentioning the other. (Moreover, the other three points are built upon these pillars, and if these fall, the others must follow.)
All Christians rightly maintain that humanity is sinful by nature, born with a propensity to sin. This fact is easily proved from Scripture (not to mention human experience). In Romans 3:9-12, for example, Paul records a sampling of God’s assessment of sinful humanity as found in various Psalms: “There is none righteous, not even one…there is none who seeks for God…there is none who does good.” Paul writes in Ephesians 2:1, 3 that we were “dead in [our] trespasses and sins….by nature children of wrath.” Unregenerate people are “slaves to sin” (Rom. 6:6) and are “held captive” by Satan “to do his will” (2 Tim. 2:26).

Clearly, the Bible affirms that, in general, humanity is very corrupt and sinful. In fact, unless God did something to get our attention and draw us to Him, we would never turn from our sins. Moreover, no person can escape his slavery to sin apart from God’s gracious help. We thus affirm man’s depravity, God’s prevenient grace (i.e., a grace shown by God that precedes regeneration) and His enabling grace that empowers us to live holy lives once we are born again.



My response to Prevenient Grace:

David begins by explaining his views of Soteriology. I am glad to see that he affirms that man would never turn from his sins unless God did something first to get our attention and draw us to Him. I am also pleased to see he agrees that no man can escape his slavery to sin apart from God’s gracious help. David then tells us that he affirms man depravity and God’s prevenient grace. He provides a definition of prevenient grace as follows—grace shown by God that precedes regeneration.
A. W. Tozer in The Pursuit of God says,
Quote:
“Christian theology teaches the doctrine of prevenient grace, which briefly stated means this, that before a man can seek God, God must first have sought the man. Before a sinful man can think a right thought of God, there must have been a work of enlightenment done within him; imperfect it may be, but a true work nonetheless, and the secret cause of all desiring and seeking and praying which may follow.
We pursue God because, and only because, He has first put an urge within us that spurs us to the pursuit. 'No man can come to me,' said our Lord, 'except the Father which hath sent me draw him,' and it is by this very prevenient drawing that God takes from us every vestige of credit for he act of coming. The impulse to pursue God originates with God, but the outworking of that impulse is our following hard after Him; and all the time we are pursuing Him we are already in His hand: 'Thy right hand upholdeth me.' In this divine 'upholding' and human 'following' there is no contradiction. All is of God, for as von Hugel teaches, God is always previous.
In practice, however, (that is, where God's previous working meets man's present response) man must pursue God. On our part there must be positive reciprocation if this secret drawing of God is to eventuate in identifiable experience of the Divine. In the warm language of personal feeling this is stated in the Forty-second Psalm: 'As the hart panteth after the waterbrooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God. My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God: when shall I come and appear before God?' This is deep calling unto deep, and the longing heart will understand it.” (Chapter 1)



Tozer and David Kirkwood agree that prevenient grace is divine grace that enables man to seek after God. They both agree that after receiving the prevenient grace man can either choose to follow Christ or choose not to follow Christ, the choice belongs to the man. But is Prevenient Grace biblical? Notice what Tozer said about prevenient grace earlier, “[God] has first put an urge within us that spurs us to the pursuit.”

Notice that he says God spurs us but doesn’t ensure that we will pursue. Then he uses John 6:44 as an example: “‘No man can come to me,' said our Lord, 'except the Father which hath sent me draw him,'”. Then Tozer says “man must pursue God. On our part there must be positive reciprocation if the secret drawing of God is to eventuate in identifiable experience of the Divine.”

Tozer agrees with Kirkwood in that prevenient grace is resistible by man. Man must respond in faith to acquire the salvation and if man does not respond in faith then he will not acquire the salvation.
Tozer and Kirkwood agree that God can draw a man to Jesus and that man can reject the drawing of God. This is very important because the doctrine of prevenient Grace stands or falls upon John 6:44—which Tozer uses this as a proof text.

Let’s look at John 6:44 in its entirety, “No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.” (KJV). What does John 6:44 tell us? The word Him is used twice in this verse. Does 'Him' refer to the same group of people in both instances? If you say 'No, it doesn't' then you have inserted something into the text that does not belong, but if you say ‘Yes, it does.’ Then you have admitted that the same group of people who are drawn by God to Jesus are the same group of people who are raised up at the last day by Jesus. If both instances of 'Him' refer to the same group of people then every single person who is drawn to Jesus by God will be raised up at the last day and that no one who is drawn will not be raised at the last day. Substitute a name into the verse and see what if this holds true, “Johnny cannot come to Jesus unless the Father which hath sent Jesus calls Johnny; and Jesus will raise Johnny up at the last day.” Do you see how the second part of the verse explicitly states that the person will be raised because they were drawn?

This presents a problem for those who believe in prevenient grace. If Jesus says that He will raise up all who are drawn by God then prevenient grace is false because prevenient grace says that a person can be drawn by God and not raised up at the last day. I submit to you that prevenient grace is not biblical.

 2007/3/8 23:03Profile
rookie
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Joined: 2003/6/3
Posts: 4794


 Re: Prevenient Grace

Brother Jay writes:

Quote:
Tozer and David Kirkwood agree that prevenient grace is divine grace that enables man to seek after God.



Scripture points to this act by God...

Job 33

14 For God may speak in one way, or in another,
Yet man does not perceive it.
15 In a dream, in a vision of the night,
When deep sleep falls upon men,
While slumbering on their beds,
16 Then He opens the ears of men,
And seals their instruction.
17 In order to turn man from his deed,
And conceal pride from man,
18 He keeps back his soul from the Pit,
And his life from perishing by the sword.
19 “Man is also chastened with pain on his bed,
And with strong pain in many of his bones,
20 So that his life abhors bread,
And his soul succulent food.
21 His flesh wastes away from sight,
And his bones stick out which once were not seen.
22 Yes, his soul draws near the Pit,
And his life to the executioners.
23 “If there is a messenger for him,
A mediator, one among a thousand,
To show man His uprightness,
24 Then He is gracious to him, and says,
“Deliver him from going down to the Pit;
I have found a ransom’;
25 His flesh shall be young like a child’s,
He shall return to the days of his youth.
26 He shall pray to God, and He will delight in him,
He shall see His face with joy,
For He restores to man His righteousness.
27 Then he looks at men and says,
“I have sinned, and perverted what was right,
And it did not profit me.’
28 He will redeem his soul from going down to the Pit,
And his life shall see the light.
29 “Behold, God works all these things,
Twice, in fact, three times with a man,
30 To bring back his soul from the Pit,
That he may be enlightened with the light of life.


Also in Proverbs 1

20 Wisdom calls aloud outside;
She raises her voice in the open squares.
21 She cries out in the chief concourses,
At the openings of the gates in the city
She speaks her words:
22 “How long, you simple ones, will you love simplicity?
For scorners delight in their scorning,
And fools hate knowledge.
23 Turn at my rebuke;
Surely I will pour out my spirit on you;
I will make my words known to you.


Quote:
“No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.” (KJV). What does John 6:44 tell us?



I see this verse as meaning that all men are depraved...Romans 3. And only because the Father sends His Spirit out:

20 Wisdom calls aloud outside;
She raises her voice in the open squares.
21 She cries out in the chief concourses,
At the openings of the gates in the city
She speaks her words:

that men are given the opportunity to be reconciled to the Father through the Son by the Holy Spirit.


Quote:
This presents a problem for those who believe in prevenient grace. If Jesus says that He will raise up all who are drawn by God then prevenient grace is false because prevenient grace says that a person can be drawn by God and not raised up at the last day.



There is no problem other than the fact that each man then is given a choice to obey or continue in unbelief.

Disobedience:

24 Because I have called and you refused,
I have stretched out my hand and no one regarded,
25 Because you disdained all my counsel,
And would have none of my rebuke,
26 I also will laugh at your calamity;
I will mock when your terror comes,
27 When your terror comes like a storm,
And your destruction comes like a whirlwind,
When distress and anguish come upon you.
28 “Then they will call on me, but I will not answer;
They will seek me diligently, but they will not find me.
29 Because they hated knowledge
And did not choose the fear of the LORD,

Or obedience:

33 But whoever listens to me will dwell safely,
And will be secure, without fear of evil.”

In Christ
Jeff


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Jeff Marshalek

 2007/3/9 1:25Profile
philologos
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Joined: 2003/7/18
Posts: 6566
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 Re: Prevenient Grace

Quote:
by JaySaved on 2007/3/9 4:03:48
I submit to you that prevenient grace is not biblical.


Taken in its most extreme form this would mean that there is no grace of God available for the unregenerate... but everything that God does for his creation stems from his grace.

The real problem in the Reformed scheme of things is that they generally put the sovereign acts of regeneration right at the very beginning of everything. This fits with their conviction of unconditional election and particular redemption but I can't accept it.

If my neighbour prays for her sick daughter and the daughter get well am I to say that this was not the grace of God to her. Does God only answer the prayers of the regenerate? If he does answer the prayer of the unregenerate is that not grace? It is not 'saving grace' but surely it is grace and if it is grace that comes before 'saving grace' why not call it 'prevenient grace'?


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Ron Bailey

 2007/3/9 4:21Profile
Christinyou
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Joined: 2005/11/2
Posts: 3705
Ca.

 Re:

Jeremiah 1:5: "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you..." (ESV)

Jeremiah 31:3: "...I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee." (KJV)

Ezekiel 34:11, 16: "For thus says the Lord GOD: Behold, I, I myself will search for my sheep and will seek them out...I will seek the lost, and I will bring back the strayed, and I will bind up the injured, and I will strengthen the weak..." (ESV)

Luke 19:10: "For the Son of Man is come to seek and to save that which was lost."

John 6:44: "No man can come unto me, unless the Father who hath sent me, draw him..."

Romans 2:4: "...the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance..."

Philippians 2:12-13: "...work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God that worketh in you according to his good pleasure, both to will and to do."

1 John 4:19: "We love him, because he first loved us."

Without God nothing would exist. Without God man would still be dust. Without God no man would choose Christ. Man has shown he would not choose Christ. First, man chose to serve the devil. All has been downhill for man after that. The only uplifting thing we have is Christ and His Grace through His Faith. What has man done to lift himself out of Satan's grasp on him since the garden? Nothing. What has God done to lift man our of, "you will surely die"? Everything. How can man say that God has not done everything to even allow any man to chose God by believing in Jesus Christ and He is the Son of the Living God Who gave Him for us.

Grace is Grace, no matter what anyone says. It is God that has chosen all that are saved and all that are not saved. No person would choose to be saved, all men have chosen to be not saved. With Grace and God and Christ and the Holy Spirit none would, can or ever will be saved. We are in Christ because of God.

Isa 10:15 Shall the axe boast itself against him that heweth therewith? [or] shall the saw magnify itself against him that shaketh it? as if the rod should shake [itself] against them that lift it up, [or] as if the staff should lift up [itself, as if it were] no wood.

Ephesians 2:7-10 That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

Gal 6:14 But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.

1Cr 1:31 That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.

2Cr 10:17 But he that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.

Call it what you want, but if it was not for God, "IT" would not be.

In Christ: Phillip


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Phillip

 2007/3/9 4:25Profile
rookie
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Joined: 2003/6/3
Posts: 4794


 Re:

Brother Phillip wrote:

Quote:
Grace is Grace, no matter what anyone says. It is God that has chosen all that are saved and all that are not saved. No person would choose to be saved, all men have chosen to be not saved. With Grace and God and Christ and the Holy Spirit none would, can or ever will be saved. We are in Christ because of God.



I noticed you used Jeremiah as an example of the power of God's grace. How is it that Jeremiah knew God?

In Christ
Jeff


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Jeff Marshalek

 2007/3/9 6:18Profile
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Joined: 2007/2/9
Posts: 640
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 Re: Prevenient Grace

Rookie,

Thank you! You clarified in a few paragraphs what I have been trying to say to Jaysaved for what seems to be months!

Prevenient grace is what does make sense to me, because God must prepare us to even hear His invitation through Christ. Then we say Yes, or No.

If Yes, then the Holy Spirit is implanted in us, and we grow in God, particularly if we work as hard as we, as humans, can.

If no, then it's no, until the person who says no changes his mind because God keeps trying to persuade him, or until he is so evil as to be totally unregenerate.

Thank you for say what I have been trying to say. I'm not insane. I'm just not a Calvinist of any kind.

Many blessings to you,


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Forrest Anderson

 2007/3/9 6:29Profile
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Joined: 2007/2/9
Posts: 640
Southern California

 Re: Prevenient Grace

Sorry, Jaysaved, but I agree with Kirkwood and Tozer.

You see, I don't want to say no to God. I just want the ability.

Then after I have said Yes, I am in the hands of the Holy Spirit until I die, ever growing, ever reaching for a greater closeness with God.

For me, the topic is now closed.

God bless you, and may your walk continue to be better than your belief system.


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Forrest Anderson

 2007/3/9 6:38Profile
death2self
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Joined: 2006/9/28
Posts: 192
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 Re:

I offer this for consideration from a brother named [url=http://www.eternalsecurity.us/prevenient_grace.htm]Jeff Paton[/url].

What exactly is meant by prevenient grace? To use more modern terminology, it is a preventing grace. The word prevent means, literally, come before (L. prae, before+venire, vent-, come). If a kindly person arrives before you, he gets things in pleasant readiness; hence the Common Prayer Book beseeches: "Prevent us, O Lord, in all our doings." It is the grace that comes before. Before what? Before every thing we do. Many other terms can be used to describe this work of God such as, Divine initiative, preceding grace, and preparatory grace. This grace does not begin at salvation and end there in a finished stroke. God is at work in everyone with the exception of the one who rejects the grace that is offered. In answer to the question, "does the grace of God work in the elect or with them? Does it require a concurrent action of mans will?" Blunt’s Doctrinal and Historical Theology says, "Our present wording of the Tenth Article of Religion...is based on those Scriptures which, while they speak of God’s working in us, require at the same time the work of man, thus, "preventing us that we may have a good will, working with us when we have that good will." Work, for God works with you, and both the will and the work are God’s (2 Pet. 1:10; Heb. 12:15; 1 Jn. 3:24). And all the varied precepts of Scripture given to those who have received the grace of God show the same, that we are to work because God worketh in us."

Praise God, He is the initiator...


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Ed Pugh

 2007/3/9 7:08Profile
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Joined: 2004/2/12
Posts: 4636
Independence, Missouri

 Re: Prevenient Grace

Quote:
“Johnny cannot come to Jesus unless the Father which hath sent Jesus calls Johnny; and Jesus will raise Johnny up at the last day.” Do you see how the second part of the verse explicitly states that the person will be raised because they were drawn?

This presents a problem for those who believe in prevenient grace. If Jesus says that He will raise up all who are drawn by God then prevenient grace is false because prevenient grace says that a person can be drawn by God and not raised up at the last day. I submit to you that prevenient grace is not biblical.



I think we need to consider that the text seems to suggest clearly that the individual that was drawn did in fact 'come'. I think the point of the passage is to demonstrate that when a person comes to Christ it happened as a result of God first drawing them. The text is too limited to draw too many conclusions. But I think the assumption from the beginning is that the person did 'come' and that their coming was initiated by God and because they responded rightly to God they will be raised up on that day.

Moreover, we have to contend with the fact that many are called but few are chosen (Matthew 22:14). Yet even fewer, perhaps, are called, chosen and faithful (Revelation 17:14). Faithfulness is what is required of a steward (I Cor. 4:2). Notice the passage did not say perfection- but faithfulness. So our right response to God is the means by which we have access into this grace wherein we stand (Romans 5:2). God initiates contact and we respond. If we respond rightly it is faith, if we do not it is unbelief. Faith and obedience are linked (Romans 1:5, 16:26). Obedience is something I must do. God cannot do it for me. He says "choose ye this day..." It is our choice to respond to Him rightly or not. The one is faith the other is unbelief.


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Robert Wurtz II

 2007/3/9 8:41Profile
JaySaved
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Joined: 2005/7/11
Posts: 1131
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 Re:

Quote:
Taken in its most extreme form this would mean that there is no grace of God available for the unregenerate... but everything that God does for his creation stems from his grace.



But we both know that God does show grace to the unregenerate. For everything they have is a gift from God. It is God who brings sunshine and rain. I refer to this as Common Grace.
EDIT: If you wish to call this prevenient grace then feel free, but this grace does not bring a person to a saving knowledge of Christ or enlighten the Will.

Quote:
The real problem in the Reformed scheme of things is that they generally put the sovereign acts of regeneration right at the very beginning of everything. This fits with their conviction of unconditional election and particular redemption but I can't accept it.

If my neighbour prays for her sick daughter and the daughter get well am I to say that this was not the grace of God to her. Does God only answer the prayers of the regenerate? If he does answer the prayer of the unregenerate is that not grace? It is not 'saving grace' but surely it is grace and if it is grace that comes before 'saving grace' why not call it 'prevenient grace'?



Unregenerate people can pray to God, but we both know that their prayers are not very effective.
For instance:
Psalm 66:18, "18If I had cherished iniquity in my heart, the Lord would not have listened.;
1 Peter 3:12, "For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are open to their prayer. But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil."

But God can and does show Grace to the unregenerate. This is grace that comes before regeneration and can be said to be 'prevenient' but not in the way of salvation.

[Edit: I have removed the rest of this post on Common Grace verses Saving Grace because of the length. If anyone wants to know what it says please let me know and I will send it to you. God Bless.]

 2007/3/9 9:17Profile





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