I have had a question on my mind for a little while, and I mentioned it at the end of another thread, but no-one saw it. :o I would like to resurrect it here and throw out the question again to see what response I get. I am looking mainly for a protestant reply, but anyone is welcome to have a go.
I only hope I can articulate it well. Here goes…
In Evangelical theology, a person “gets saved” by hearing/reading the Word and responding to it by faith. So far, so good, more or less. How is it then that they can understand and respond to the Word by faith, when at the time of hearing it they did not yet have the Holy Spirit in them?
Or to put it another way, one learns of Christ through the Bible alone, but before one believes, it takes some reading and study of scripture in order to “get saved”. Now the person is saved, they have the illumination of the Holy Spirit necessary to understand the Bible.
How did they ever get to first base, that is, the ability to believe and understand the scriptures, when in the process of getting there, their “natural mind was darkened, and could not discern the things of the Spirit?” (my paraphrase of 2 Cor 2:14).
Catholic theology explains this perfectly, by actual grace.
How does anyone from an Evangelical/Protestant view think this through?
Before reverting to the Catholic Church, I struggled with this, among many other beliefs I held to, in the Baptist denomination.
I will be interested to see the replies.
Thank you for taking the time