The Pelagius view is that change is solely an act of the human will—essentially, self-reformation. The Arminian view is that regeneration is accomplished by the cooperation of man’s will with the truth. If we believe that regeneration was accomplished by our cooperation with the truth as it came to us—without believing that God inclines our will to receive the truth—we do not believe in the total depravity of man. If we believe that our will aspires to cooperate with truth, then we must believe that there is something good in man. Accordingly, I do not accept the Arminian view. The Bible states that God is the author of new-birth.
He came unto his own, and his own received him not. But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. (John 1:11-13)
In this passage, we can see that God is the author. The One plants the seed and the Spirit is the agent. Jesus said, “…so is everyone who is born of the Spirit”. The Word is the instrument. God causes regeneration, performing it through the Spirit by means of the Word. He does it through His own will, as noted in the book of James.
Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures. (James 1:18)
We see that it was not by our will—but His—that He births us through belief in the truth. Considering this, is appealing to an audience that they surrender their will to God the best way to evangelise? Surrender is impossible apart from divine intervention.
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