What has been asserted by Neo-Calvinists and/or Neo-Reformed Teachers and students is the rationalistic idea that the divine regeneration of a person occurs before they place their faith in the gospel. Of course this is patently false but what is so startling are the mental gymnastics which must be exercised in order to oppose a rather prima facie teaching in the Bible. Look what the Scriptures plainly teach in Acts 16:31:
Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved...
When does salvation occur? After one believes. The text is clear and emphatic. Thus, all of its products cannot arrive until it, salvation, arrives otherwise we make salvation the property of regeneration and make void the power of the gospel and its promise. None of that really matters, though, because what such people are striving for is the "Smartest One in the Room" award. It is repugnant and heretical and understand what it is when you encounter it.
Now their excuse will be a rationalistic one, mind you. They will insist because of total depravity (human depravity is the more appropriate expression) man cannot possibly understand the gospel and believe therefore, it stands to reason they must be regenerated first, before believing the gospel. The problem? The problem is their system of theology, not the Word of God. You see, to people like this the Word of God exists to serve their system of theology instead of their system of theology existing to serve the Word of God. Therefore, they become slaves to their system.
This is to say little of their ignorance about the work of the Holy Spirit who does the enlightening for the man or woman who is not alive spiritually. They completely ignore that this is one of God the Holy Spirit's primary functions for the unsaved, to enlighten them as to the meaning of the gospel when they hear it. Yes, the spiritually dead cannot understand spiritual things but this does not mean we race to the conclusion that one must, then, be regenerated before believing in order to understand the gospel and ignore the Biblical teaching on the illuminating or enlightening work of God the Holy Spirit. This is precisely why he accompanies the Word of God for the unsaved, to enlighten them!
This is an elementary doctrine, one that is for those in spiritual diapers yet, here we have allegedly mature adults who are still doctrinally soiling their diapers and claiming the stench is coming from some other source and not their cleverly devised waste.
No, dear Christain, regeneration is a product of salvation and salvation is not a product of regeneration.