[We are] not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. (Romans 1:16)

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Wilkin Gilliard email Debate

by H K Flynn

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.


  • Great topic. Let us know how things finish up.

    By Blogger Todd, at Wednesday, April 05, 2006 6:49:00 PM  

  • Lam 3:26
    It is good that one should hope and wait quietly
    For the salvation of the LORD.

    (Except for those who, before the foundation of the earth, God has, within the counsel of His will, reprobated, damned, for His own glory... they will wait only for the Great White Throne judgment in which they will be mercilessly thrown into the Lake of Fire because it seemed good to the Traditionalist God)

    By Blogger Antonio, at Wednesday, April 05, 2006 7:25:00 PM  

  • Jodie,
    Thanks for posting that. I like Bob Wilkin, no matter what the purists say about him. He made his point.

    On a personal note, I never heard that this kind of repentance was necessary for eternal life until I started reading reformed blogs. I always heard it explained that the repentance of changing your mind about who Christ is was all that is necessary. You and Antonio and your teachings about repentance from sin has helped me a lot to realize that these things apply to me, a saved person. Thanks!

    By Blogger Rose~, at Wednesday, April 05, 2006 8:53:00 PM  

  • Hi Todd,

    Actually, the debate is long over. I should have explained that. I did link to it if you want to check it out sometime. Very telling. Gilliard's no dummy but he has a hard to maintain position, especially on this point.

    By Blogger H K Flynn, at Wednesday, April 05, 2006 9:21:00 PM  

  • I like that, Antonio.

    What a worshipful, pro-grace verse.

    By Blogger H K Flynn, at Wednesday, April 05, 2006 9:22:00 PM  

  • Hi Rose,

    Thanks for your thoughts on repentance. I still want to go back and read Charlie Bing's position, which is closer to what you've heard.

    He has a great newsletter we get, GES does too. Maybe you and John would enjoy those. I think they're both (absolutely ;) free, and no fundraising to speak of.

    Actually, I think there are some places in the NT that Hodges and Wilkin would say that the term repentance does mean a change of mind, just not very many.

    So a little nuance from me, not too much, but a little :)


    God bless

    By Blogger H K Flynn, at Wednesday, April 05, 2006 9:29:00 PM  

  • Great stuff, Jodie.

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at Thursday, April 06, 2006 4:45:00 AM  

  • I like the nuance (hehe). Great post Jodie. I had read the debate in full previously but went back for a refresher. ;-)

    By Blogger Kc, at Thursday, April 06, 2006 9:01:00 AM  

  • Thanks guys :)

    By Blogger H K Flynn, at Tuesday, April 11, 2006 9:59:00 AM  

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