Tuesday, December 1, 2015

John Owen and Hardshell "Regeneration"

In "THE NATURE, CAUSES, AND MEANS OF REGENERATION" (see here) John Owen wrote (Chapter V): (emphasis mine)

"This is the whole of what we plead: God in our conversion, by the exceeding greatness of his power, as he wrought in Christ when he raised him from the dead, actually worketh faith and repentance in us, gives them unto us, bestows them on us; so that they are mere effects of his grace in us. And his working in us infallibly produceth the effect intended, because it is actual faith that he works, and not only a power to believe, which we may either put forth and make use of or suffer to be fruitless, according to the pleasure of our own wills.

 And the end of the work of God described is not a power to obey, which may be exerted or not; but it is actual obedience in conversion, and all the fruits of it."

That this view of Owen was the view of those Baptists who first put forth the 1689 London Confession of Faith cannot be denied.  How does what Owen says refute hardshellism?

Don't Hardshells say that "regeneration" merely gives one the power to believe and repent, and not faith and repentance themselves?  Don't they say that this "regenerated" person, who is not yet a believer or penitent, may or may not believe and repent, depending upon his own free choice to use that power, or as Owen says, to "put forth and make use of...according to the pleasure of our own wills"?


Anonymous said...

I happened upon this site after googling your name. I know you probably don't remember me but I met you one time in summer of 1981.I was a travelling companion of Elder E D Bryant. He was in North Carolina, I think, to fill some appointments & I travelled with you to Bethel on the coast. I was ordained among PB in 1990 and pastored among them locally for 15yrs. Growing discontented with obvious hypocrisy and twisting of truth I walked away several years ago. From the time of ordination to when I left I had questions that I was ridiculed for even asking. It seems to me now that I was "in a box". I did not know how to think outside of it. Over the course of years I finally decided "you know it's time you take what God says and run with it".I had been preaching gospel regeneration for years. Even I have enough reasoning to understand that regeneration is not the giving of life. Not any of us knows when that takes place. All life begins in the dark. God is obviously the giver of it. There's life in a seed but it must come in contact with the warmth of light and moisture of earth to come out of that darkness. I see the gospel(god spell) as the speech of God. Poweful? Yes indeed. I do not say this in anyway to demean , there is great power in light. But it is limited. Under no circumstances can it "give life". We see that around us every day. God is not author of confusion. He wouldn't teach us one way in nature then reverse it in the spiritual realm. Nature is a checkpoint, seems to me. There is a direct parallel between the two. PB and others are up in arms about abortion. They say it's a life. And I agree. Birth must not be the beginning of life becomes then sound reasoning. I read of those that were brought to term ready for delivery but the mother had not the strength to bring forth. Strengthen me according to thy word David says. Take away the re and the de and we're left with generation. If "what God says"(gospel)(speech of God) regenerates and lack of it "how art thou become the degenerate" then it's safe to assume the gospel is responsible for the generation of the children. People in the earth that can be identified by their teachings and actions that they are sons and daughters of God in truth(light). Well..much could be said by all. I've gone on too long. God bless.

Stephen Garrett said...

Dear Anon:

Thanks for stopping by and visiting with us. You are welcome here any time. We would be happy to hear of your dealings with the Hardshells. Perhaps you can be of help to them now that you are outside of their cult environment. If you feel led to write anything, send it to us and we will be happy to post it.

God bless