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Archive for February 20th, 2014

What is Regeneration

Purchase: Westminster | Amazon

This is a good short work on the doctrine of regeneration.  At first I wasn’t sure why the beginning of the book focused on the difference between the Gospel call versus effectual call.  The author demonstrated how the Reformed distinction of Gospel versus effectual call avoids the contradiction between the Bible’s description of resistible and irresistible calling and the case was quite compelling.  This led the author to observe that in both instances, the Gospel is present and that it’s not merely the presentation of the Gospel that lead someone to salvation; here the doctrine of regeneration enters the picture to explain why certain individuals do come to salvation.

The book gave a good definition of regeneration in a long and nuance paragraph.  In short, regeneration is “the work of the Holy Spirit to unite the elect sinner to Christ by breathing new life into that dead and depraved sinner…”  It’s important to define our terms in theology since the actual Greek word regeneration is palingenesia and is used only twice in the New Testament in Matthew 19:28 and Titus 3:5.  As the book pointed out, it’s only in Titus 3:5 that we see the more narrow and technical sense of regeneration being used.  But as any mature believer who have wrestled with the Trinity knows, deriving theology from the Bible is more than searching for certain theological terminology used in the Bible; one must ask whether the concept is communicated in the Scriptures using other motifs and terminology.  The rest of the book provides an excellent survey and study of the passages used to establish the doctrine of regeneration.  The book looks at Old Testament passages as well as the New Testament.  I was pleasantly surprised to find Old Testament references in support of regeneration.  I appreciated the author’s note of the grammar of the verses he examined to prove his point such as the use of the passive voice indicating that regeneration is the work of God and not of us.

This short work is an adaptation from the author’s longer work titled Salvation by Grace.  I suppose if one wants a deeper treatment on the topic of regeneration and effectual calling they can read this other work.  However I would say that there is still a place for the shorter work, especially for new believers, discipleship or devotionals that serve as a quick reminder for the believer.  I recommend this booklet.

NOTE: This book was provided to me free by P&R Publishing and Net Galley without any obligation for a positive review. All opinions offered above are mine unless otherwise stated or implied.

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