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Regeneration--Chapter 4 PDF Print E-mail
Written by W.H. Crouse   

 

A FEW ARGUMENTS IN SUPPORT OF OUR POSITION

Those who teach that God regenerates sinners through the ministry and the preached word use with great emphasis, and again and again, the following statement: “God is not limited in his manner of operation. He can do as he pleases. He can work with or without means. If he desires, he can regenerate through the preached word. To deny this is to limit God and to deny his sovereignty and power.”

Those are high sounding statements and have received many; for of all peoples Primitive Baptists believe in the sovereignty of God and question not his omnipotence. Our brethren have sometimes answered, “We readily admit your statements. It is purely a question of his will, not of power. He could regenerate through the preached word, but he does not choose to do so.” I am not so ready to accept this answer. God cannot deny himself. He has stated most clearly the condition of men in sin and the nature of regeneration, and has emphatically declared that until changed by quickening, creative, resurrection power he CAN NOT be affected  spiritually by the ministry and the preached word. Here is laid down a law as: irrevocable as God himself.

To say that God has taught us that there are certain irrevocable laws respecting entrance from the natural to the spiritual kingdom, and that God then turns round and “ordinarily” works contrary to those laws-or that he can so work -is not crowning him with that glory we feel he deserves.

We now wish to offer some arguments in support of our contention that God NEVER regenerates by or through the preached word. Whatever the reader’s views may be respecting this matter we trust he will carefully and prayerfully consider these arguments, measuring them by the word of God, and give to them such weight as he honestly feels they deserve.


THE NATURE OF REGENERATION

Argument One: We argue that the work of  regeneration in its very nature is such that it cannot be accomplished through the instrumentality of the gospel--the written or spoken word.
Much depends upon a proper understanding of what regeneration means. Light, heat and moisture are sufficient means to develop and unfold the life in a grain of corn; they are NOT a sufficient means to impart life to a grain of corn in which there is no living germ. An efficient teacher with the proper text book is sufficient means to educate a rational, willing mind; they are not sufficient to give a mind to an abnormal child. The light of instruction is a sufficient means to dispel the darkness of ignorance; it is NOT a sufficient means to dispel the darkness of death. The human finger would be a sufficient means to write God’s laws in the sand; it is not a sufficient means to write them upon the fleshly tables of the heart. Human hands would be a sufficient means to remove the napkin and grave clothes from a living body; they are NOT sufficient to impart life to the dead. Adam and his posterity can till the ground, plant, cultivate and dress; but they had no part in the creation. And let me state very clearly that there will be no controversy between us as to what may be accomplished through the instrumentality of the ministry and the preached word once eternal life has been imparted; but that eternal life is imparted through such a medium we do most emphatically deny.
To practically the entire above paragraph our “means” brethren will profess to most readily assent. With the exception of the last statement they will say they accept it without the least reservation. But they then give to a long string of scriptures an interpretation which denies it in every part. We think we are able to show you this most clearly if you will with open mind follow us closely in our reasoning.

And now to the nature of regeneration.

Generate: to beget; to produce (a being similar to the parent); to cause to be; to bring into life.

Regenerate: to be born anew; to renovate in heart; to change from a natural to a spiritual state; to give new life.

Regeneration: the act of regenerating, or the state of being regenerated. - Webster’s International  Dictionary.

Regeneration: a new birth; that work of the Holy Spirit by which we experience a change of heart-Buck’s Theological Dictionary.

Regeneration: the change and renovation of the soul by the Spirit and grace of God (John 3:5-6). It is called the new birth, and consists in the infusion of spiritual life into the soul (John 5: 25), whereby be is enabled to perform spiritual actions, and live to God. (Rom. 14: 8.)-Alexander Gruden, M. A.

Regeneration is expressed by being born again, which it properly signifies (John 3:3-7; 1 Pet. 3:23); and this supposes a prior birth, a first birth, to which regeneration is the second; the first birth is of sinful parents, and in their image; the second birth is of God, and in his image; the first birth is of corruptible, the second birth of incorruptible seed; the first birth is in sin, the second birth is in holiness and righteousness; the first birth is of the flesh and is carnal, the second birth is of the Spirit and is spiritual; and makes men. Spiritual men; and what is produced in regeneration is called the new creature, and the new man; and those who are born again are said to be new born babes; * * * it is not a working upon the old principles of nature, nor the working them up to a higher pitch: it is not an improvement of them, nor a repairing of the broken, ruined image of God in man. But it is altogether a new work; it is called a creation, being a work of almighty power; and a new creature, and a new man. Previous to regeneration, men are dead while they live; though corporally alive, are morally dead, dead in a moral sense, as to spiritual things, in all the powers and faculties of their souls; they have no more knowledge of them, affection for them, will to them, or power to perform them, than a dead man has with respect to things natural; but in regeneration, a principle of spiritual life is infused. Christ is the resurrection and life unto them, or raises them from a death of sin to a life of grace; and the spirit of life, from Christ, enters into them. Regeneration is a passing from death to life.-John Gill, D.D. (Body of Divinity).

Let us stop repeatedly, as we pursue this subject, and ask ourselves this question: Is the ministry and the preached word a sufficient means, in the hand of God, to accomplish that work? Is this any part of the mission of the gospel ministry? Is the gospel and the gospel ministry EVER blessed of God to the accomplishment, in any degree, of this supernatural work which can alone be done by a creative power?

Concerning the work of regeneration, Charles Spurgeon, on page 82, Volume 5, of his published sermons, says: “You will notice that God does not promise that he will improve our nature, that he will mend our broken hearts. No, the promise is that he will give us new hearts. Human nature is too far-gone ever to be mended. It is not a house that is a little out of repair, with here and there a slate blown from the roof, and here and there a piece of plaster broken down from the ceiling. No, it is rotten throughout, the very foundations have been sapped; there is not a single timber in it which has not been eaten by the worms from its uppermost roof to its lowest foundation; there is no soundness in it; it is all rottenness and ready to fail. God does not attempt to mend; he does not shore up the walls, and repaint the door; he does not garnish and beautify, but he determines that the old house shall be entirely swept away, and that he will build a. new one. It is too far-gone, I say, to be mended. If only a wheel or two of that great thing called ‘manhood’ were out of repair, then he who made man might put the whole to rights; he might put a new cog where it had been broken off, and another wheel where it had gone to ruin, and the machine might work anew. But no, the whole of it is out of repair; there is not one lever which is not broken; not one axle which is not disturbed; not one of the wheels which act upon the others. The whole head is sick, and the whole heart is faint. From the sole of the foot, to the crown of the head, it is all wounds and bruises and putrefying sores. The Lord, therefore, does not attempt the repairing of this thing; but he says, ‘I will give you a NEW heart; I will take away the heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.’ In this one particular work, is the preacher and the gospel the medium through which God (ordinarily) operates?

W. P. Throgmorton, in his debate with Elder Daily, defined regeneration as follows: “Regeneration means the work of God in imparting to the human soul the divine nature and the divine life and making the children of Adam the children of Jehovah.”

We have never read a better definition than this. But he then insisted that ordinarily God does this work through the preached word and sought to prove that this was original Baptist faith by the introduction of The London Confession of Faith; and to prove that it was scriptural he offered such scriptures as 1 Cor. 4:15- “For in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel;” James 1:18--”Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth;” 1 Pet. 1:23-"Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth forever.”

We ask in all candor of our Primitive brethren, do you  know agree with Throgmorton that God imparts divine life to the human soul and makes the children of Adam the children of Jehovah through the medium of the preached word? What do you say? In almost unanimous voice we hear you exclaim, NO! But, we ask, if we give to these Scriptures the interpretation he gave them, how can we escape his conclusion? If Throgmorton was right in his application and interpretation of these scriptures, there isn’t a man on earth who can successfully deny his conclusion. The whole proposition will finally rest on the interpretation to be given to this line of scriptures. And on this point there are but two schools of thought; one represented by the Missionaries, the other by the Primitives. Our interpretation of these scriptures will determine to which school we properly belong. And as we go along we wish you to note that the point of difference between our people and others has not been as to the condition of the sinner, nor yet the nature of regeneration, but the means or medium through which God regenerates them.

On page 464, in Baptist Doctrines, E. G. Taylor, D. D., says:  “Regeneration is something radical and fundamental.  It is not mere reformation, or a simple renunciation of error and reception of truth. That may occur and the heart be unaffected. Men’s reforms are like lopping oft branches of the evil tree, while the poisonous root, from which other branches will spring, is not only unharmed, but cherished and assiduously cultivated. Regeneration is more than is included in a life of morality. There must be the seed created by the divine hand, and cast into the barren earth, before the fields can smile with abundant harvests. In vain would be all the husbandman’s exhortations either to empty soil, or to the pebbles or stones that may be scattered around, to yield him a crop of cotton or wheat. He must have like to  produce like. And the ‘carnal’ mind, that is not simply at enmity with God, but enmity itself, has in it nothing to produce likeness to God. Cultivation carried to the highest extent can never turn the pebble into the living tree. Regeneration is a miracle wrought by the Holy Spirit in man; so mysterious, so hidden in its operation, that it is known only by its effects; so subtle that the learned ‘Master of Israel’ could not understand it, and even Christ himself contents himself with asserting it. It is infinitely more than the highest result which man can, with all his efforts, produce upon himself.”

The following is taken from the Word of God:

“Except a man be born again.”-Jesus in John 3:5.

“You hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins.”-Ephesians 2:1.
 
“We are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus.”-Ephesians 2: 10.

“If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature.”-2 Cor. 5:17.

“I am crucified with Christ; nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me.”- Gal. 2:20.

“He that hath the Son hath life, and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.”-1 John. 5:12.

“In Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature.”-Gal. 6:15.

“Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the Word of God, which liveth and abideth forever. “-1 Pet. 1:23.

“And shall not come into condemnation, but is passed from death unto life” -John 5:24.

“In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands.” 1 Col 2:11.

“Whose heart the Lord opened, that she attended unto the things which were spoken of Paul.”-Acts 16:14.

“According to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and the renewing of the Holy Ghost.”--Titus 3:5. Peter, John and Paul.

We submit the following conclusion: Regeneration is that work of God by which the sinner is born again; eternal life is implanted in the soul; he is quickened and passes from death unto life; a new heart is given; the stubborn will is subdued, the enmity toward God is removed, and supreme love for God is implanted in the soul; he is changed from natural to spiritual; in short, it is that work of God by the Holy Spirit in which a child of Adam, destitute of spiritual life, dead in sin, and under the power and control of Satan is made a CHILD OF GOD capacitated to see, to know, to understand, and to enjoy the things of the Spirit and to render acceptable service to the Lord, and prepared inwardly to dwell with the Lord in the mansions above.

In this work God acts as sovereignly as ho did in the creation of the universe. This change must ALWAYS be the immediate work of the Holy Spirit, independent of all human means or instrumentalities-NEVER by, with or through the preached word. It is unscientific, as well as unscriptural, for us to assert that such a change as this can be accomplished by or through moral force. This change does not belong in the world of reason, of instruction, or of development. It belongs in the world of creation, of generation, and of resurrection-a world forever staked off from the ministry and the preached word.


THE NECESSITY OF REGENERATION

Argument Two: In connection with the nature of regeneration, our next argument is drawn from the teaching of the Scripture in regard to the necessity of regeneration.  God has a good and wise purpose in all he does. With him there is no such thing as “wasted energy.” We, in carrying out our plans and purposes, may do many things useless and unnecessary. Not so with God. There is a reason why men are regenerated; there is a necessity for it. “Ye must be born again.” He who declares, “ye must” is the same who hath said, “I am Alpha and Omega, the Almighty.  * * * I am the first and the last: I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive forevermore; and have the keys of hell and of death. He that openeth, and no man shutteth; and shutteth, and no man openeth.” Without this change Jesus declares no man can see the kingdom of God neither can he enter therein.

The external rites of religion; the mere fact that we are born of pious ancestors; the fact that we may have been dedicated to God in baptism; that we have made a public profession of religion; that men may place a high estimate on our piety; that we are considered by others and by ourselves as highly elevated in holiness and happiness here; all this, and more, will avail us nothing toward heaven if it must still be said “one thing thou lackest yet,” viz., a new heart-the circumcision not made with hands. “Ye must be born AGAIN.”

One need of regeneration lies in the fact that men are totally depraved. The very best of mankind are so corrupt that they have need to be born again. The purest, the loveliest, the gentlest, the most amiable, the fairest of all nature’s flowers, stands as much in need of regeneration as the vilest outcast who walks the streets and the depraved and lost whose names are never spoken but by broken hearts and in earnest prayers to the heavenly Father. They must have a change which is not simply a surface or superficial matter. Man’s pollution is not of the skin, but of the heart. This change must be a radical change, great in its character and lasting in its consequences, if they shall ever live with God. This change must affect the heart. It must reach down into the deepest recesses of the soul, and must stretch forward into the ceaseless ages of eternity.  This change is represented as a birth.

In the mother’s womb the child was begotten. Here life was imparted. In that life were all the elements of the senses and faculties of a human being, yet undeveloped. During the days, weeks and months of its development the child lay entombed in a living sepulcher. It neither saw, heard, breathed, loved nor feared. How mysterious indeed the beginning and the development of that life! “As thou knowest not what is the way of the spirit, nor how the bones do grow in the womb of her that is with child: even so thou knowest not the works of God who maketh all.” (Eccles. 11:5.) At length, at the time appointed by the Creator, the windows of sense are thrown open, the eyes see, the ears hear, the hands feel, the feet walk. Sweetly it nestles on the bosom of its mother, and drawn by emotions of love it smiles in the face of her whose heart burns with a love stronger than death.

This was the first birth. Jesus declared man MUST be born AGAIN. He uses the first to illustrate the second, and the second is even more mysterious than the first and is infinitely greater and better. In the first a child of Adam is but born for the grave; in the second a son of God is born for heaven. By the first little feet begin their march on a rough road which ends in death and the tomb; in the second we start upon a journey which, however full of sorrows, toils and conflicts, ends in a crown in glory.

It cannot be too strongly emphasized that man by the first birth is NOT a child of God. He may be loved and chosen of God; he may have redemption through blood; but that which is born of the flesh is but flesh. He is but natural-a child of wrath. We hold, in no degree, the doctrine of “eternal vital union.” Two-seedism is no part of our faith. And the efforts of some to brand us with this heresy is but a  subterfuge and liable to deceive the brotherhood. Man becomes a child of God by regeneration. In this work children of Adam become sons of God.

What a mistake many have made in their attempt to explain this second birth! With them it means only the abandonment of a wild and wicked life for habits of temperance, honesty and decency; a change wrought by the power and hand of man. If a drunkard becomes sober, a libertine pure, a thief honest, a liar true, they acclaim him born again! All these things are good and much to he desired, but this is NOT being born again. In these changes men have much to do, but in the work of regeneration human arms are as helpless and powerless as they would be in their attempt to create a world.

A large percent of the religious world today think of regeneration as but a moral change. If this be true, it can be brought about by moral force. And if this be true, the salvation of the world rests alone in the hands of men, and men are born again through the instrumentality of the church, her ministry and the preached word. This unscriptural teaching, introduced long ago among Baptists, now appears in full fruitage in the teaching of many Doctors of Divinity and ministers of lesser prominence.

Prof. Foster of the (Baptist) Divinity School of the University of Chicago says:  “The sum of what I have been urging amounts to the profoundest change of thought known to history. One may say that not supernatural regeneration, but natural growth; not divine sanctification, but human education; not supernatural grace, but natural morality; not the divine expiation of the cross, but the human heroism-or accident-of the cross; * * * not Christ the Lord, But the maim Jesus who was a child of his time; not God and his providence, but evolution and its process without an absolute goal-that all this, and such as this, is the new turn in the affairs of religion at the tick of the clock.”-A Guide to the Study of the Christian Religion (page 736).

It would be slanderous in the extreme to charge such teaching upon our New School brethren as a whole. But we do charge that the above teaching is but the legitimate result and outgrowth of the introduction and emphasis of the unscriptural doctrine of Free Moral Agency and means and instrumentalities in the work of regeneration. Large oaks from little acorns grow. Only a very small opening was seen in the levee at first, apparently very insignificant, but little by little it grew larger until the dam was swept away and an entire city was destroyed. Having admitted that regeneration can be accomplished by or through the instrumentality of moral forces (such as the ministry and the gospel), these men were led on to affirm regeneration to be but a moral change, and at last God and the  supernatural are entirely discarded and they have launched out into the open sea of rationalism and infidelity. In. all things essential the teaching of Voltaire, Hume, Bolingbroke, Paine and Ingersoll was nowise different from the teaching of Prof. Foster.

They fail to understand the nature of regeneration. It is not a work done FOR man, but a work done IN man; not a reformation of life, but a change of heart; not a turning of man to God, but God dwelling in us; not the development of Adam life, but the implantation in man of the life of God; not a work done through or by human means and instrumentalities, but a work done alone by the irresistible creative power of an omnipotent God who speaks and it is done, who commands and it stands fast.

Ours is indeed an old theology, a theology out grown by many in the religious world, but it is the theology of Christ and the Apostles, and it is the theology of the Baptist fathers.
In a sermon delivered sixty-five years ago, Charles H. Spurgeon said:

“A man may reform himself very much, and that is well and good; let all do that. A man may cast away many vices, forsake many lusts in which he indulged, and conquer evil habits; but no man in the world can make himself to be born in God. If he could make himself to be born again, still he would not enter heaven, because unless a man be born of the SPIRIT, he cannot see the kingdom of God. Regeneration consists in this: God the Holy Spirit, in a supernatural manner- mark, by the word supernatural I mean just what it strictly means; supernatural, more than natural-works upon the hearts of men, and they by the operations of the divine Spirit become regenerate men; the dead sinner is quickened, the unwilling sinner is made willing, the desperately hard sinner has his conscience made tender; and he who rejected God and despised Christ, is brought to cast himself down at the feet of Jesus. This is called fanatical doctrine, mayhap; that we cannot help.”

Again in another sermon he (Third Series, page 215) said: “Holy Scripture tells us that man by nature is dead in trespasses and sins. It does not say that he is sick, that he is faint, that he has grown callous, and hardened, and seared, but it says he is absolutely dead. Whatever that term death means in connection with the body, that it means in connection with man’s soul, viewing it in its relation to spiritual things. When the body is dead it is powerless; it is unable to do anything for itself; and when the soul of man is dead, in a spiritual sense, it must be, if there is any meaning in the figure, utterly and entirely powerless, and unable to do anything of itself or for itself. When we shall see dead men raising themselves from the grave, when we shall see them unwinding their own sheets, opening their own coffin-lids, and walking down our streets alive and animate, as the result of their own power, then perhaps ye may believe that souls dead in sin may turn to God. But mark, NOT TILL THEN. Divine life is God’s gift.

“But Scripture does not only tell us that man is dead in sin; it tells us something worse than this, namely, that he is utterly and entirely averse to everything that is good and right. The carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.-Romans 8:7. What said Christ in that text so often quoted by the Arminian to disprove the very doctrine which it clearly states? What did Christ say to those who imagined that men would come without divine influence? He said first, No man can come to me except the Father which hath sent me draw him; but he said something stronger-Ye WILL NOT come unto me that ye might have life. No man WILL come. Here lies the deadly mischief; not only that he is powerless to do good, but that he is powerful enough to do that which is wrong, and that his will is desperately set against everything that is right. Go, Arminian, and tell your hearers that they will come if they please, but know that your Redeemer looks you in the face, and tells you that you are uttering a lie. Men will not come. They never will come of themselves. You cannot induce them to come; you cannot force them to come by all your thunders, nor can you entice them to come by all your invitations. They will not come unto Christ, that they may have life. Until the Spirit draw them, come they  neither will, nor can.”

The Bible teaches clearly that sinners are totally and hereditarily depraved. Notwithstanding the efforts made to tone down this doctrine so despised by the world it remains as the foundation stone of salvation by grace and redemption by the blood of the Lamb-plainly and emphatically declared by Inspiration and clearly manifested as true by the lives of men.

Writing in the Western Recorder, L. C. Kelly, a talented and spiritual man of God, says:  
“Total depravity means that every facility of man is incurably corrupted by sin. In the Fall the seed of all sin was planted in the soil of human nature. Sin became a fixed fact in the human soul. When the genesis of sin became a fatal fact in human nature, the fruitage of sin was the inevitable result.

“The Bible makes a distinction between sin and sins. It is the difference between a corrupt tree and its corrupt fruit. The sure way to stop the fruit is to kill the tree. And this is the aim of grace. What was active in Judas is latent in every man. What is active in the murderer, the covetous, the adulterer, the idolater, the fornicator, the effeminate, the self-lover, in fact, what is active in every down and out debauched soul is latent in every other soul. They are all ‘chips off the same block.’ The Bible picture of a guilty soul is complete. It views him from every angle. It goes from fact to fruit; from sin in its genesis, to sins in all their hideous results. Nothing can be more clearly portrayed than that in the fall man’s ruin was complete. ‘Without God and without hope’ was God’s verdict.

“We do what we do because we are what we are. Sin is the fountain; sins its flow.Much religion today is but an effort to rejuvenate or to embalm man’s dead self. Christ died for a different purpose, and grace acted in a different way. To be good merely is not to be born again. A sinner minus his sins would not be a saint any more than a dead tree minus dotage would be alive. We must have more than corrected conduct (Matt. 12:43-45). There must be a regeneration-a new LIFE implanted. All are guilty. The babe and the old debauchee are both corrupt alike in their nature. The human soil is the same. The difference is in the crop.

“The Epistle to the Romans is a picture of man’s ruin and God’s remedy. But before Paul was, God’s Book was packed full of the truth about total depravity. The natural heart is a heart of stone. Humanity without God is a moral maniac. The heart is disgracefully deranged. Having ears they hear not, eyes they see not, and hearts that do not understand, because of their morally mad minds and deranged affections. Sin made man a mental, moral and spiritual pervert.”

Of course, we expect those who believe in the gospel as a means of regeneration to declare that they believe all this as much as we. They will declare that they “yield to no man” in their fidelity to this truth of the total depravity of the race. They will exhaust their vocabulary in an effort to convince us of their soundness here. But if this IS the true condition of men in a state of nature, we ask, How is this moral mania, this mental, moral and spiritual pervert, with blind eyes, deaf ears, and a heart of stone to be reached by or through the gospel of Christ?

To say that God uses the preached gospel in changing this depraved being is to assert that which is unreasonable and absurd, and to break down a barrier which God says must ever remain until this pervert is made a new creature by the work of regeneration.

We copy the following from a pamphlet by the late J. H. Dew, D. D.: “Life must come first. Nothing else is scientific. We often see one part of a man dead while the other parts are living. For example, the eyes are sightless-dead to the world of light. The ear is deaf-dead to the world of sound or the arm is paralyzed- dead to the world of motion. These parts are dead, while the other parts of the body are living. So before one is brought into vital union with Jesus Christ his physical nature lives, but his spiritual nature which deals with God and divine things, is dead. It does not recognize God, nor discern the things of the Spirit, nor see the invisible realities of heaven and eternity. Man’s greatest need, therefore, is something which he does not have-A SPIRITUAL LIFE. He may possess many redeeming virtues, many attractive qualities, many excellencies of character; yet without this divine principle he is spiritually dead. And you hath he quickened, who were DEAD in trespasses and sins. Eph. 2:1.
 
“To give emphasis to this thought, let us look at a picture. Here is a man physically dead. His body is placed in a handsome casket. Friends collect garlands of beautiful flowers and wreathe them about this corpse. One comes and looks at its saying, ‘Lovely.’ Another comes and says, ‘The features are perfect.’ Still another says, ‘What is lacking here?’ And the very silence answers, ‘Life! -Physical life.’

“Here is another picture--a living man without Christ. What is the matter with him? One says, ‘He needs a change of environment.’ Another says, ‘He needs education and culture.’ Another says, ‘Let him imitate Jesus.’ Still another says, ‘He ought by all means to join the church and live up to its rules.’ God says, ‘No, you are all wrong; the man is spiritually dead; his greatest ‘need is spiritual life.’

“Man must have a new life first of all. Regeneration is to the dead faculties of the spiritual nature of man what life is to the corpse. Unless this new life of God implanted in his heart gives him new vision, he cannot see; unless it gives him new hearing, he cannot hear; unless it gives him new understanding, he cannot enter in to the thoughts of the Most High. Without spiritual regeneration a man is only playing the Christian. He is no better spiritually than a galvanized corpse. Under the power of electricity there may be some movement of the body, but there is no glow upon the cheeks, no fire in the eyes, no warmth in the body, no blood in the veins, no breath in the nostrils. * * * where in the Bible does God command the unregenerate to live the life of the regenerate. There must first be life, then development. The order in the New Testament church was regeneration, organization, education. * * * Training, growth, development, are out of the question till they have some foundation on which to rest-some vital root out of which to grow. Dead men  cannot be trained or educated. Food sustains life, but it does not originate it. Changing the environment or expanding the intellect will not evolve a Christian from a sinner, any more than putting a tiger in a cage and feeding him on milk will make him a lamb.“There is no possibility of growth except to such as have entered into life. Life is the prerequisite. I may thrust a dry stick into the ground and foster it with all possible care, giving it access to the sunlight and the dews of the morning, but I shall never have anything but a dry stick-no growth, no foliage, no fruit-because there was no life in the beginning.

“Our greatest need is not a development, but a new creation-the impartation of spiritual life. Human nature is too far-gone ever to be mended. So it is not the old nature worked over and patched up. For by no course of education, by no kind of ethical culture, by no process of evolution, can the natural man be made into the spiritual.”  The point at issue is clear. In this work man has no part; moral forces can be of no avail.

Many of you have read Natural Law in the Spiritual World by Prof. Henry Drummond, one of the world’s greatest scientists, written before he embraced the destructive teachings of the Modernist. It is an unanswerable refutation of the doctrine of spontaneous generation or the possibility of environment, culture or education ever making a saint out of a sinner.

I have laid stress upon the doctrine of total depravity for in this scriptural doctrine we find much of the answer to the question as to whether or not God uses the ministry and the preached word in the regeneration of sinners.

Let it be kept in mind that we are not discussing the question of education or development. The question is: how are DEAD sinners made ALIVE? How are they regenerated or born AGAIN? And we affirm, “without fear of successful contradiction” that this work is NEVER done through the gospel-the written or spoken word. 

Last Updated ( Thursday, 05 October 2006 )
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The Primitive or Old School Baptists cling to the doctrines and practices held by Baptist Churches throughout America at the close of the Revolutionary War. This site is dedicated to providing access to our rich heritage, with both historic and contemporary writings.