No Gospel, No Regeneration

Abraham Booth, Glad Tidings

p238 “According to fatalism, the word of truth having no influence, is of no use in the work or regeneration, the salutary and important change being produced entirely without it…To imagine that a preparation of the mind, merely to receive the truth, is a change so great as to describe the expressions ‘born again’ or ‘born of the Spirit’ or ‘born of God’ is very unwarrantable…It is too hastily assumed that the mind is prepared to receive the light of spiritual knowledge before the truth have any influence on it.”

p247 “Now the question is: Do the Scriptures lead us to conclude that the mind and the conscience are brought into the new state by an immediate divine energy, without the medium of either the law or the gospel? I think not. It is written: by the law is the knowledge of sin. When the commandment came, sin revived and I died…

p249 “For an ‘awakened sinner’ to be persuaded to be persuaded that regeneration is effected without the instrumentality of divine truth, is to give an injurious direction to his prayers and expectations. He will pray for something under the notion of ‘regeneration’ in which the knowledge of Christ and a regard to His atonement have no concern…Neglecting the testimony of God concerning Jesus, he will be ready to look inside himself for some impulse to produce the important change.”.

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4 Comments on “No Gospel, No Regeneration”

  1. There is regeneration in the broader sense and regeneration in the narrower sense.
    “It is true that the preaching of the Word stands in connection with regeneration in the broader sense of the word: for without the proclamation of the gospel it is impossible that regeneration will ever become conscious in the people of God. And that the apostle here also speaks of this regeneration in the broader sense of the word, as it concerns our conscious life, is clear from the context, as we hope to indicate presently. But this does not remove the fact that even in this latter sense of the word regeneration does not take place through the preaching of the Word, but through the living and abiding Word of God itself.”

  2. markmcculley Says:

    D.M. Lloyd-Jones from “The Puritans: Their Origins and Successors”:

    “At this point I would make a comment, and put it in the form of a question. Is there not a real danger of our becoming guilty of a very subtle form of Arminianism if we maintain that correct doctrine and understanding are essential to our being used by the Spirit of God? It is sheer Arminianism to insist upon a true and correct understanding as being essential.

    The case of the young Harris disproves this. For eighteen months he was used in this mighty manner while still not merely confused, but actually wrong in his doctrine. The same, of course, is true in the case of John Wesley. I remember speaking once in the Anniversary at the Central Hall, Westminster.

    I said that John Wesley was to me the greatest proof of Calvinism. Why? Because in spite of his faulty thinking he was greatly used of God to preach the gospel and to convert souls! That is the ultimate proof of Calvinism – predestination and election. It certainly comes out quite clearly in the case of the young Howell Harris.”

    “I would sum up this section like this. One of the greatest proofs of the truth of the doctrines emphasized by Calvin, what is known as ‘Calvinism’ – though I have already said I do not like these terms – is John Wesley. He was a man who was saved in spite of his muddled and erroneous thinking. The grace of God saved him in spite of himself. That is Calvinist! If you say, as a Calvinist, that a man is saved by his understanding of doctrine you are denying Calvinism. He is not. We are all saved in spite of what we are in every respect. Thus it comes to pass that men who can be so muddled, because they bring in their own human reason, as John Wesley and others did, are saved men and Christians, as all of us are, because it is ‘all of the grace of God’ and in spite of us.”

  3. markmcculley Says:

    Since regeneration is without means, hardhsells argue, then it has no temporal connection whatsoever with repentance and belief of the gospel. Thus, they believe that a person can go for a period of hours, days, weeks, or even years between being regenerated (saved, born again) and being converted (repenting, believing the gospel). They believe that a regenerate person can go for hours, days, weeks, or even years being ignorant of the only basis of salvation that is revealed in the gospel and even being openly hostile to the gospel. They say that this glorifies God’s sovereignty in salvation. They say that to believe that conversion is an immediate and inevitable fruit of regeneration is to believe that God cannot save someone without the means of the gospel, thus denying God’s sovereignty.

    However, to say that God does or does not do things in a certain way is not a denial of God’s sovereignty; in fact, it establishes the truth of God’s sovereignty. God, the sovereign Creator and Controller of the universe, has revealed to us in His Word how He glorifies Himself in the salvation of sinners.

    God will not “save” a sinner and then “leave him” (actually cause him to be) in unbelief even for a second, because this does not glorify Him. When God justifies someone, God glorifies Himself in the heart of that person by causing that person to repent of his dead works and fruit unto death and to believe the true gospel of salvation conditioned on the atoning blood of Jesus Christ alone, giving all the glory to God for his past and future salvation.

    The Hardshells say that this “limits God.” But it does no such thing. It acknowledges that God glorifies Himself in the hearts of His people as He says in His Word. It is actually the hardshells who are limiting God by saying that God unable or unwilling to cause His people to believe in Him and give Him all the glory in their salvation at the time He regenerates them.

    “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation to everyone believing, both to Jew first, and to Greek; for in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; even as it has been written, But the just shall live by faith” (Rom. 1:16-17). Hardshells do not believe that the gospel is the power of God to salvation to everyone believing.

    “Brothers, truly my heart’s pleasure and supplication to God on behalf of Israel is for Israel to be saved. For I testify to them that they have zeal to God, but not according to knowledge. For being ignorant of the righteousness of God, and seeking to establish their own righteousness, they did not submit to the righteousness of God. For Christ [is] the end of Law for righteousness to everyone that believes” (Rom. 10:1-4).

    Hardshells do not believe that all who are ignorant of the righteousness of God revealed in the gospel, who are seeking to establish their own righteousness, Hardshells do not believe that those who do not submit to the righteousness of God, are unregenerate.

  4. markmcculley Says:

    Our regeneration is not our righteousness, but the gospel is not only about justification and the atonement, but also about regeneration

    I therefore do not deny that the work of the Spirit (the new birth) is also part of the gospel and thus the object of faith. (When preachers deny that election is part of the gospel, and reduce it to only being the reason why people believe the gospel, they end up leaving election out.)

    I don’t want to leave the new birth out of the gospel, but I want to say that the new birth (and faith in the gospel) is the result and not the condition, that– in the true gospel– faith excludes itself as being the cause or condition or any part of the righteousness earned by Christ’s death for the elect and imputed in time to the elect.

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