Sent: Monday, May 17, 2004 10:11 PM
Subject: A REPLY ON "REGENERATION" [05/17/04]

It has been called to my attention by a Brother in North Carolina that we have been the object of criticism by a Primitive Baptist, or "Hardshell," on the Internet. If you wish to read the illustrious criticism, you may consult the following website:

This writer alleges that I teach something to the effect that infants that depart this life must
"hear the Gospel preached to them so they could affect God's regeneration through the exercise of their informed wills."

I have always considered it a "point" in my favor when one who disputes a matter either (1) does not know my view on the issue, or (2) he must misrepresent my view in order to "refute" it. Since this gentleman seems to be acquainted with my writings, I will not accuse him of lack of knowledge. But then, that leaves me with no alternative except to say he has misrepresented my view.

At no time have I ever taught that anyone affects [sic] God's regeneration "through the exercise of their informed wills."

I hold the historic creedal view on the New Birth, or regeneration (as it is called in theological works), and this takes place by "means" -- the Word of God and the Holy Spirit creating faith in the subject.

This Hardshell Baptist writer, nor any other, has ever been born again without having been the subject of the Word and the Spirit creating faith him him. If he can show me a born again person who never heard the Word beforehand, then I will show him a person who was not born again in accordance with the Baptist Confession of Faith which sets forth the Biblical teaching on this matter.

If he will show me an infant who died and is in eternity and he did not hear and believe the Word of God empowered by the Holy Spirit upon arrival, then I will show him an infant who evidently will spend eternity in an unregenerated, unbelieving state.

The Word of God and the Holy Spirit produce faith in the subject. Faith neither precedes the new birth nor follows after the supposed "regeneration" taught by the Hardshells, a "regeneration" which allegedly takes place in a person before, without, and apart from the Word of God. Show me a man who does not believe in Christ and I will show you a man who has not been born again. Show me a man who has believed in Christ, and I will show you a man who has had faith produced in his heart by the Word of God empowered by the Spirit of God [1 John 5:1; John 6:63].

The fact that we deny the "pre-faith new birth" theory does not mean we endorse the "post-faith new birth" theory. We believe faith is experienced by a person by the efficacious power of the Word and the Spirit, as our Confession of Faith sets forth:

Those whom God hath predestinated unto life, he is pleased in his appointed, and accepted time, effectually to call, by his Word and Spirit, out of that state of sin and death in which they are by nature, to grace and salvation by Jesus Christ; enlightening their minds spiritually and savingly to understand the things of God; taking away their heart of stone, and giving unto them a heart of flesh; renewing their wills, and by his almighty power determining them to that which is good, and effectually drawing them to Jesus Christ; yet so as they come most freely, being made willing by his grace.
( Romans 8:30; Romans 11:7; Ephesians 1:10, 11; 2 Thessalonians 2:13, 14; Ephesians 2:1-6; Acts 26:18; Ephesians 1:17, 18; Ezekiel 36:26; Deuteronomy 30:6; Ezekiel 36:27; Ephesians 1:19; Psalm 110:3; Song of Solomon 1:4 )


Any view of the "new birth" that alleges that the new birth takes place before this calling by the means of the Word and the Spirit -- such as the Hardshells and "pre-faith new birth" theorists teach -- is NOT the view taught in our Baptist Confession of Faith. That is obviously why the Hardshells met together years ago to, in effect, set aside the Baptist Confession and adopt a revision which they called the "Fulton Confession."

John 3:14, 15:

"And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life."

Permission granted to copy and use this article.
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