Friday, December 18, 2015

Lawrence on Spiritual Conception & Birth

In this same writing as the previous posting, in talking about the sonship of Christ, Lawrence wrote (emphasis mine):

"Was Jesus Christ a born child of God, when he was conceived by his mother Mary. I answer no, because conception is not born, nor born again, in no sense of that word. Born is a very different word from conception; conception means a child in embryo, but born, or born again, means a child brought forth in full perfection. Then conception is not a born child...Or, to make it plainer, a predestinated child, a promised child, a conceived child, is not an actual child, is not a born child; what say you to this? Then a predestinated child, a promised child, nor a conceived child, is not a born child in no sense of that word, born; for the word born is the finishing stroke, but predestination, promising, and conception of a child, are preparatory causes to produce the effect, born child, or born again — what say you to this? A born child is not a born child until he is born."  (SEE HERE)

Lawrence believed, like most of his brethren, that one may be "conceived" and therefore "alive" before spiritual birth ("regenerated"), yet he was not yet a born child of God until evangelical faith was produced, when there was "deliverance."  Also, Lawrence put the emphasis on "the finishing stroke," on conversion, which is the new birth necessary for eternal salvation.  However, today's Hardshells put all the emphasis on the conception, and think the birth is totally unnecessary, mistaking what is "preparatory" to birth for the birth.

Though I do not believe the scriptures break down the spiritual birth and generation process into precise stages as in physical birth, yet such a paradigm still correctly makes gospel conversion and the new birth to be the same.  The error is to call that which is preparatory to new birth "regeneration" or a spiritual "conception" of some kind that precedes the birth.

One of the oft cited verses in the early issues of "The Primitive Baptist" is this one "for we are the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus" (Gal. 3:26) and it is clear that they understood this to mean that one was "born" of the Spirit by faith.  That is what I believe and it is not Arminianism but historic Calvinism and traditional Old Baptist belief.

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