The purpose of Old Paths Baptist Ministries is to labor to counter the proliferation of what we prefer to call 'decisional regeneration.'
The means which the Lord has given us to do this is three-fold - 1). Preaching, 2). Printing, and 3). Our Internet Website.
The first thing we must do, is define what is meant by the term 'decisional regeneration,' in the context which will be referred to here and in our materials. Some might get the idea that this term is speaking of what has come to be called 'easy-believism.' This is true to a point, but what most would call easy-believism is actually just one form of decisional regeneration. There is a great trunk with many branches which have grown up out of the root of decisional regeneration. In addition, there are many differing definitions of what easy-believism actually is.
Decisional regeneration, simply stated, is any doctrine which maintains that an individual is saved by a mere 'decision of the will.' That is, doctrine which teaches that men can be saved by merely making a conscious choice to be saved. This doctrine emphasizes the 'free will' of man, and is actually a free will doctrine. Decisional regeneration ultimately proclaims that if a person sincerely desires salvation and makes a decision to act on that desire, they can be saved. As set forth above, this decision may lead to any one of a number of acts, none of which are sufficient to produce genuine salvation.
One form of decisional regeneration may instruct the sinner to 'invite Christ into the heart,' another may teach that salvation comes through praying 'the sinner's prayer,' yet another may promote 'giving one's life to Christ,' another might instruct the seeker to 'claim the promise.' There are a multitude of means employed by those who practice this, but the doctrine which is at the root of these means is one which relies on an individual making a decision based primarily on their will.
It should be pointed out that those who teach and practice a decisional regeneration doctrine would likely never state that they are doing so, and may not even realize they are. Yet it may often be recognized by what they preach regarding how salvation is obtained. It will surely be evident in what they practice when dealing with individuals seeking salvation.
In some instances a preacher may preach the truth regarding salvation, but one must then watch how these preachers apply what they preach. That is, one must observe what is practiced when dealing with an individual at the altar, or in their evangelistic methods, to really see decisional regeneration at work. Some preachers actually go contrary to what they have just preached when it comes to personally dealing with individuals seeking salvation. In other words, their 'application' does not align with their 'declaration.'
One might wonder how a preacher could go contrary to what they have just preached, or be unaware that they are actually holding to a doctrine of decisional regeneration while denying such is true.
The answer is found in the fact that Satan is a deceiver and the heart is deceitful above all things. Without the Holy Spirit of God illuminating the mind, men can believe one thing and say and practice something totally contrary without seeing the contradiction in it. The quote from II Timothy 3, which was given at the beginning of this booklet makes it clear that there would be men who had been deceived in the area of doctrine, and would deceive others also.
We know, too, from I Corinthians 2:14, that spiritual things cannot be understood without the Holy Spirit giving illumination.
Also, a lack of understanding regarding what certain
doctrines actually are can lead to confusion when defending or refuting
them. For example, one may have been told by those who taught them that
they are not Free Will Baptists. But if that individual doesn't know what
constitutes free will doctrine, he could easily preach and practice it
without even being aware of such. Merely stating or repeating certain words,
phrases or doctrines does not mean that one necessarily believes them,
or even that they are true. It has been said that 'a lie if repeated often
enough becomes the truth.' While this is not literally true, it is often
the case that the lie will come to be perceived to be the truth, and thus
accepted as the truth, though it still be a lie.
Whether decisional regeneration is preached and practiced, or whether it is practiced in spite of what is preached, it will certainly be manifested in the way that seeking sinners are dealt with. This is where one must observe closely what takes place, lest decisional regeneration is overlooked.
This is not to imply that all preachers who practice decisional regeneration are consciously deceiving people. Many preachers do not even see that there is difference in what they preach and how they apply what they have preached.
Decisional regeneration will also tend to over-emphasize the 'responsibility of man.'
Some may already be tempted to label me at this point, but let me say that it is certainly true that man is a 'free moral agent' in the sense that he is not a robot, and he has a will which he can exercise. But man's will is not truly free in the sense that some would teach.
It is certainly true as well that man has a 'moral responsibility' toward God. Man is obligated to 'repent and believe the gospel.' Acts 17:30 makes this clear when it says, 'And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent:' If an individual does not do this, he cannot be saved. This is plainly seen in Luke 13:3&5, where we read in both verses, '...except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.' The problem is that there are several hindrances and obstacles in man's way which prevent him from doing so on his own.
Finally, it is also true that an individual is willing to be saved when God has worked completely in them. No individual is saved against his will. But let it be perfectly clear, that man is only willing after a divine operation of the Spirit of God on their heart. David wrote in Psalm 110:3, 'Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power...' We also know from Philippians 2:13, 'For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of [his] good pleasure.' It is true that one becomes a willing participant in salvation, but only after God has worked on their depraved will.
Decisional regeneration's roots are as old as the gospel itself, and it would take much space to fully detail all of the branches which have shot forth from its resulting trunk. This site will address the doctrine and its tragic impact on the Baptist churches of our day in greater detail, and Old Paths Baptist Ministries will, through 'Venture Publications,' make printed materials dealing with this topic as well.
Our first in-depth work on Decisional Regeneration is now available here on our web site. We hope to offer it in printed form to those who desire it in the near future. You may access it here or from the Home page.
Please pray for the work here and feel free to e-mail us with questions and comments. Please tell those you know about our efforts and about this website. Thank you, and may the Lord bless you.
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