Our 8th point of 11 doctrinal statements reads: "Salvation, the effect of regeneration by the Spirit and the Word, not by works, but by grace through faith". We draw your attention to regeneration, which is the entrance gate of salvation. It's very important, especially to the pulpit.
Many evangelicals in the broader Christian community will insist salvation is not of works, but by grace through faith – yet dismiss the significance of the preached Word. Our statement adds two key points: (i) regeneration precedes faith, and (ii) regeneration occurs by the sword of the Sprit, which is the word of God. Why are these important?
The doctrines of grace primarily hinge on Total Depravity; for if man in his spirit is dead in sins and trespasses, then he is utterly unable to save himself. Man is not transcendental, with a spark of the divine, able to respond ever so feebly. No, salvation is solely a work of God, and that through the living Word. Does that mean we wait for God to zap someone? No. We preach the word, because faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God. The Scriptures reveals an order of salvation: preacher sent, Word preached, regeneration occurs, spiritual ears granted, effectual hearing occurs, faith follows. Notice the word "after" in Ephesians 1:13, which says in whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed °".
If this were not the case (i.e., if unsaved man had some tiny ability to believe on Christ), then he could believe without God's help, even without aid of the preached Word. Preachers would appeal to your will and not rely solely on God's Word. Then the convert could boast that they were a little bit smarter than the other guy. The Arminian views faith as a non-work work, but Scriptures presents faith as the fruit (not the root) of the Spirit. Unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ ° to believe. Jesus told some Jews, Ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep. In the classic text – for by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God – the Greek makes clear that faith is the gift in view.
What then of man's will? Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power. God first graciously inclines our wills towards Him. In fact, it would be quite unfair for God to depend on a dead man to believe.