A. W. PINK ON REGENERATION
BY THE WORD AND SPIRIT
IN CONTRAST TO HARDSHELLISM, HYPER-CALVINISM, ETC.
From Arthur W. Pink's booklet THE NEW
BIRTH, [Bible Truth Depot, Swengel, PA, 1955 editionpages 22-24]
THE NEW BIRTH IS EFFECTED BY THE WORD OF GOD
APPLIED BY THE HOLY SPIRIT.
"For in Christ Jesus I have
begotten you through the Gospel" (1 Corinthians 4:15).
apostle went from place to place preaching the Gospel of God's grace and
as it found lodgment in hearts which had been prepared by the Holy Spirit
brought them from death unto life.
In Philippians 2:16 the
Scriptures are termed "The Word of Life," because they alone are capable
of quickening those who are dead in trespasses and sins. Said our
Lord Jesus Christ, "The words that I speak unto you they are
spirit, and they are life" (John 6:63).
An illustration of
this was furnished in the resurrection of Lazarus. As our Lord stood
before the tomb, He cried, "Lazarus, come forth," and His words were
demonstrated to be spirit and life. Jesus Christ is still performing the
same miracle in the spiritual realm:
"Verily, verily, I say unto you, the
hour is coming, and now is, when the dead (in trespasses and sins)
shall hear the voice of the Son of God and they that hear shall
live" (John 5:25).
It is not by persuasive words of man's wisdom, nor
by touching anecdotes which appeal to emotions, that dead souls are born
again, but by the Word of the living God.
"Of His own will begat
He us, with the Word of Truth" (James 1:18).
again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the Word of
God, which liveth and abideth forever" (1 Peter 1:23).
more of our preachers would follow the example of Ezekiel, and say unto the
dead bones all around them, "Hear ye the Word of the Lord" (Ezekiel
37), then should we see the miracle of spiritual resurrection occurring
oftener than we now do. Believe and preach the Word of God, for by it,
and it alone, are dead souls born again."
This is the same teaching I have set forth since the 1950s.
It is the basis of my critiques of the theories of some of the modern professed
"Calvinists" who are teaching other ideas on the new birth, especially the
theory taught by James White, R. C. Sproul, Louis Berkhof's theology book,
and their disciples, which does not represent Confessional
A couple of my recent critics who have been disturbed by some
of my articles have suggested that I am not teaching what I have always taught
on this matter. Nothing could be further from the truth. I have taught
this view and opposed Hardshellism, Hyper-Calvinism, and Hybrid Calvinism all
thru these many years. For example --
When I taught in the Bible
College we had here in Pasadena in the 1960s and early 1970s, I taught this same
view, and here is an excerpt from my class notes on Effectual Calling
which was covered in the study of the Philadelphia Confession of
BIBLE DOCTRINE -- As Arranged in
the Philadelphia Confession of Faith
CHAPTER TEN: OF EFFECTUAL
Reading assignment: Chapter Ten of the
PHILADELPHIA CONFESSION; Strong's SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY, pages 660-664 (on
infant salvation), 790-793 (on Calling).
. . . .
Calling is actually the same thing as what most Christians mean by the
expression "saved." Although the term "saved" is used often of a
wider, more comprehensive doctrine, yet the conversion experience (calling) is
rightly referred to by this term.
conviction, repentance, faith, conversion, regeneration, justification and
The term "effectual" simply means
this call produces, or accomplishes, the intended purpose. It is not
merely the "general" call which men receive by means of God's "four lights"
(nature, conscience, Law, Gospel -- Rom. 1-3), but it is the powerful call of
God's Holy Spirit, as He blesses His Word:
gospel came not unto you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Ghost
(I Thess. 1:5).
"Many are called" with the general call, but
"few are chosen," or called, with the effectual call (mt. 20:16). The
general call is sometimes referred to as the "outward call," while the effectual
call is referred to as the "inward call."
The outward call brings men to a profession of
Christ, the inward to a possession of Christ (Body of Divinity, page
I. The Means of This Call and the Parts of
Man to which it is Addressed
The term "means" is used to
refer to instrumentality. The Word of God is the means
(instrument), and the Holy Spirit is the efficient Agent. The "word
only" theory is the Campbellite view, while the "Spirit only" view is the
Hardshell view. The Gospel coming in power and in the Holy Ghost
is the Pauline view (I Thess. 1:5). Paul taught that men are
begotten 'through the gospel" (as the instrument), but the renewing is
"of the Holy Ghost" (I Cor. 4:15; Titus 3:5).
In performing this work of heavenly mercy, the
eternal Spirit is the grand agent, and evangelical truth the honored
instrument (Reign of Grace, page 98).
It is true, the Divine grace doth all, He
begetteth us; but remember it is by the Word of truth (Exposition of
James, page 100).
No man is made a Christian by any power less than God's, and by no other
means than God's word. Christ wrought the obedience of the Gentiles
through Paul, but the instrumentality belongs to God's Word, as well as
the agency to Himself (Exposition of the Epistle to the Romans, page
ministry of the Word is the pipe or organ; the Spirit of God blowing
in it, effectually changes men's hearts (Body of Divinity, page
Those who separate calling by the Spirit from
the instrumentality of the Word object to the view of regeneration always
being in conjunction with the "preached Word" and cite a case such as Saul
of Tarsus who was called to Christ by a vision. Our view, however, does
not mean that it must be the truth in the form of the "preached" Word; our view
does mean that the truth in some form must be present when the Holy
Spirit effectually works regeneration. What Paul saw in the vision --
the Lord Jesus Christ -- is what others see in the preached Gospel. Others
may see by a hymn. The fact is, God uses a medium of revelation
in calling men into a saving relationship to Jesus
And this is life eternal, that they might know
thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou has sent (John
But these are written, that ye might believe that
Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life
through His name (John 20:31).
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