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PAULA WEBSTER, wife of noted Christian apologist, author and founder of Christian Resources William Webster, will address the theme: "ARE YOUR CHILDREN A MISSION FIELD?: A Warning Against the Dangers of Presumptive Regeneration".
Paula was baptized as an infant and raised in the Dutch Reformed denomination called the Christian Reformed Church (CRC), a denomination that has produced many biblically orthodox and faithful disciples of Jesus Christ that have been used mightily by God in His Kingdom. There has been, however, a dangerous teaching within the CRC prevalent for many years (even endorsed by the great Christian hero Abraham Kuyper) known as "Presumptive Regeneration". This was the case in the CRC congregation of our guest's youth. Believing she was certainly an authentic Christian during her childhood she made a profession of faith before the consistory at the age of 14. However, at the age of 32 Paula realized that she had been deceived into believing she was truly a child of God her entire life and it was then that she cried out to God with a repentant heart for salvation. Reflecting on her childhood she recalls that she, along with all the other children in her congregation, may have been taught the biblical facts about God and the Gospel of Christ, but were never evangelized as sinners in desperate need of a Savior. Paula believes this is a result of "Presumptive Regeneration", where Christian parents automatically presume that their children are regenerate merely because they were born to Christian parents.
Paula also reflects on her experiences early on after leaving the Christian Reformed Church and entering into mainstream, modern Evangelicalism, which is sadly dominated by the heresy known as "Easy Believism" and "Cheap Grace", a phenomenon which, although different than "Presumptive Regeneration", is in some ways its "cousin", resulting in individuals being assured of their salvation merely due to a public profession of faith in Christ (rather than their being born of Christian parents), even when there may be an absence of fruit or evidence that the one professing Christ has truly been born from above by the transforming power of the Holy Ghost. This heresy is at the heart of what has been nicknamed "the Lordship Controversy". A theological battle erupted among conservative Evangelicals and Fundamentalists during the 1980's between those who rejected the belief that repentance is a necessary component of genuine saving faith ("you can have Christ as your Savior but not necessarily as your Lord") in a misguided attempt to preserve the precious truth of Justification By Faith Alone, and those who affirmed that Christ must be embraced not only as Savior but also as Lord over one's life when one is truly born again, subsequently bearing the fruit of good works, in order for one to be deemed an authentic Christian.
The latter group insists that this belief is clearly and irrefutably Scriptural and in no way contradicts or impinges the doctrine of Justification By Faith Alone which all true heirs of the Protestant Reformation uphold as a necessary element of genuine Gospel preaching and teaching. This "Lordship Controversy" resulted in church splits, the dropping of support for certain missionaries and the firing of seminary faculty members. This still occurs today as the controversy rages on. Paula Webster strongly believes that both "Presumptive Regeneration" and the theology of "ANTI-Lordship Salvation" are a breeding ground for generations of nominal, dead, counterfeit Christians who will be tragically shocked on the Day of Judgement when learning that Christ never knew them before they enter into an eternity of torment.
You can read more about this controversy in the excellent work written by Dr. John MacArthur, a proponent of "Lordship Salvation", titled "The Gospel According to Jesus", which just recently reached its 20th anniversary in print. Another tremendous resource on this issue (that Dr. MacArthur includes in the aforementioned book's bibliography) is the book written by our guest Paula Webster's husband, William Webster, titled "Must Jesus Be Lord To Be Savior?" .