AChristian "I also believe that dead sinners need to have a special work done in their hearts by God before they can and will be converted. I do not see this work as regeneration, however. That is, I do not believe regeneration precedes or produces conversion to Christ. "
I believer here, you are referring to Calvin's theory of "Total Depravity." You believe that a "sinner needs to have a special work done in their heart by God."
No matter how you slice it, that is "regeneration." Would you not agree that if God worked on your heart this would "precede" your free will?
I am sure you are aware of The Westminster Confession of Faith doctrine: "To everyone there is imputed from Adam an 'original corruption,' whereby we are utterly indisposed, disabled, and made opposite to all good, and wholly inclined to all evil" (VI.iv).
Calvin wrote: "Because of the bondage of sin by which the will is held bound, it cannot move toward good much less apply itself thereto; for a movement of this sort is the beginning of conversion to God, which Scripture is ascribed entirely to God " (Institutes of the Christian Religion, II.iii.5).
If this doctrine was true, "faith" would NOT come by "hearing the word of God" (Ro, 10:17) but that God had unconditionally decided to save and regenerate the sinner.
This would be contrary to your statement: "According to Romans 6:3-5, Galatians 3:26-29, and Colossians 2:11-13, regeneration occurs when the repentant believer confesses Christ in baptism. This teaching is contrary to the Baptist faith I preached for almost 30 years, but it is the truth of the New Testament"
Are you saying that the doctrine of "Total Depravity" that you taught for "30 years in the Baptist faith" is contrary to the New Testament teaching that "faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God" (Romans 10:17)?
Paul said something that is appropriate here: "For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved." (naturally, this would eliminate an infant from this requirement)! And, I have no idea how a "totally depraved" sinner could do this according to Calvin's theory.
"And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring good things. But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah said, Lord who has believed our report?" "If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that you have received, let him be accursed."