Saturday, November 15, 2008

Edwards' view of new birth


I recently noted a comment by Timmy Brister -- the Southern Seminary recruit drafted as the assistant to Flounders' leader, Tom Ascol -- wherein Twittering Timmy says of Jonathan Edwards:

"I'm convinced that Jonathan Edwards says more in one paragraph than most contemporary authors say in an entire book."

We have cited Edwards in the past on the matter of regeneration, and since Brister thinks so highly of Edwards, we wish to again call attention to his view which is in conflict with the Flounders and other "Reformed" Hybrid Calvinists.

Edwards did not hold the Hybrid Calvinist view on regeneration, which is obvious from these remarks from his sermon, A Divine and Supernatural Light, etc.

"It is not intended that the natural faculties are not made use of in it. The natural faculties are the subject of this light: and they are the subject in such a manner, that they are not merely passive, but active in it; the acts and exercises of man's understanding are concerned and made use of in it. God, in letting in this light into the soul, deals with man according to his nature, or as a rational creature; and makes use of his human faculties."

Edwards continues under this same heading:

"It is not intended that outward means have no concern in this affair. As I have observed already, it is not in this affair, as it is in inspiration, where new truths are suggested: for here is by this light only given a due apprehension of the same truths that are revealed in the word of God; and therefore it is not given without the word. The gospel is made use of in this affair: this light is the "light of the glorious gospel of Christ", 2 Cor. 4:4. The gospel is as a glass by which this light is conveyed to us, 1 Cor. 13:12. 'Now we see through a glass.' . . . Indeed a person cannot have spiritual light without the word."

Edwards indeed has more truth in those few words than any Hybrid Calvinist writer (such as R. C. Sproul or James White) has in any book which teaches the fantasy that "regeneration precedes faith."


At Saturday, November 15, 2008 9:02:00 PM, Blogger Ian D. Elsasser said...


Jonathan Edwards also equates "regeneration/begotten/born again" and "true repentance and conversion" throughout Part III, Chapter II of The Great Christian Doctrine of Original Sin Defended:

"I. If we compare one scripture with another, it will be sufficiently manifest, that by regeneration, or being begotten, or born again, the same change in the state of the mind is signified with that which the scripture speaks of as affected in true repentance and conversion. I put repentance and conversion together, because the scripture puts them together, Acts iii. 19. and because they plainly signify much the same thing. The word (NOT ENGLISH ) repentance, signifies a change of the mind; as the word conversion, means a change or turning from sin to God. And that this is the same change with that which is called regeneration (excepting that this latter term especially signifies the change, as the mind is passive in it) the following things may show."


"II. The change which a man undergoes when born again, and in his repentance and conversion, is the same that the scripture calls the circumcision of the heart."


"III. This inward change, called regeneration, and circumcision of the heart, which is wrought in repentance and conversion, is the same with that spiritual resurrection so often spoken of, and represented as a dying unto sin, and a living unto righteousness."


"IV. This change, of which men are the subjects, when they are born again, and circumcised in heart, when they repent, and are converted, and spiritually raised from the dead, is the same change which is meant when the Scripture speaks of making the heart and spirit new, or giving a new heart and spirit."


"V. It is abundantly manifest, that being born again, spiritually rising from the dead to newness of life, receiving a new heart, and being renewed in the spirit of the mind, are the same thing with that which is called putting off the old man, and putting on the new man."


"VI. I observe once more, it is very apparent, that being born again, and spiritually raised from death to a state of new existence and life, having a new heart created in us, being renewed in the spirit of our mind, and being the subjects of that change by which we put off the old man, and put on the new man, is the same thing with that which in Scripture is called being created anew, or made new creatures."

And in his second reflection he says:

"2. It appears from this, together with what has been proved above, that it is most certain with respect to every one of the human race, that he can never have any interest in Christ, or see the kingdom of God, unless he be the subject of that change in the temper and disposition of his heart, which is made in repentance and conversion, circumcision of heart, spiritual baptism, dying to sin, and rising to a new and holy life; and unless he has the old heart taken away, and a new heart and spirit given, and puts off the old man, and puts on the new man, and old things are passed away, and all things made new."

At Saturday, November 15, 2008 9:36:00 PM, Blogger John Lofton, Recovering Republican said...

Calvin-admiring site; please visit/comment.

John Lofton, Editor

Recovering Republican

At Sunday, November 16, 2008 12:45:00 AM, Blogger Ian D. Elsasser said...


I came upon a blog called"doctrine of regeneration" operated by someone who calls himself a Sovereign Grace Baptist Preacher and read these words regarding regeneration which represents the Reformed view:

"It is not contingent on the word of the gospel....THERE'S A DISTINCTION BETWEEN A CREATIVE ACT, AND THE WORD OF PREACHING" (what is regeneration

"5. Regeneration is an immediate, creative act of God, and no instrument, or secondary causes are connected with it" (25 Argument)

This is certainly at odds with such Scriptures as Ezekiel 37.1-14; John 6.63; 1 Corinthians 4.15; James 1.18; 1 Peter 1.23. It is also at odds with the view of Jonathan Edwards.


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