Wilkin Gilliard email Debate
I want to see if I understand the Purist position, both repentance and regeneration are gifts from God. And both those gifts have to be received before someone can believe, which is also a gift of God.
Or is it also that one must first be regenerate in order to even receive the gift of repentance?
It’s ok if you don’t have anything more to say on this repentance topic but reading through the email debate between Bob Wilkin and Kerry Gilliard I found some intriguing moments.
The debate premise was Resolved: Repentance isn't a Condition of Eternal Life, meaning Wilkin was arguing the affirmative and Gilliard the negative. Unfortunately for Gilliard, he made the mistake of saying in the middle of the debate:
Logically and scripturally, regeneration precedes faith and repentance.
While this sounds like a proper Purist reasoning it actually conceded the debate, by saying that regeneration precedes repentance when he was formally arguing that repentance is necessary for regeneration.
Below is Wilkin’s closing statement...
Gilliard said that there is no condition for regeneration and that the sole condition of justification is faith. Hence he conceded the debate.
By my fifth question, he saw the problem and was forced to change his own definition of regeneration!
In his answer to my first question he said, “This is what regeneration is – new life.” Then in his third answer he reiterated, “Regeneration/the new birth is not a human act…” By his own definition regeneration is “new life” and “the new birth.”
Yet in his fifth answer we read a new definition. “Regeneration (John 6:65). God divine ly enables man by giving him the principle of new life and changing his spiritual disposition from God-hating to God-seeking.”
Whereas before he defined regeneration as “new birth” and “the new life,” now it is the principle of new life. What is that? It is a creation by Gilliard in order to escape the dilemma in which he finds himself. Note too that his defense of this new definition is based on a verse, John 6:65, that doesn’t even mention regeneration.
Since repentance isn’t a condition of justification or regeneration, it isn’t a condition of eternal life.