Jan 26, 2009

Dr. Howell on Regeneration

"Our views on the subject of regeneration are explained in a few words. The following are the 2nd 3rd, and 4th articles of the Declaration of Faith of the Nashville Baptist Church, written by the Editor, and the truth of which we most firmly believe.

II. "We believe that man was created holy; but, by wilfully violating the law of his Maker, he fell from that state; as a consequence of which he, and his descendants, became corrupt, and sinful, and that, as all have sinned, all are by nature, the children of wrath, justly exposed to death, and other miseries, temporal, spiritual, and eternal."

III. "That the only way of salvation from this state of guilt, and condemnation, is through the righteousness, and atonement, of Jesus Christ our Lord, who, by a miraculous union of human with his divine nature, became incarnate, for the suffering of death, and whom God hath set forth to be the propitiation for our sins, through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins. Whosoever believeth in him, evangelically, and truly, shall not perish, but have everlasting life.

IV. "We believe that all those who are the subjects of faith, and repentance, become such in consequence, not of their own merits, but of God's own purpose and grace, which was given us, in Christ Jesus, before the world began. That the Holy Ghost, without whose influence none would repent and believe, performs the work of regeneration in the heart, and that such, and such only, who are truly converted and become new creatures are proper subjects for membership in the visible Church of Christ.

These articles, let it be remembered, were written, several years ago, when Mr. Campbell was denouncing the Editor, in his Harbinger, in the bitterest, and most vulgar terms, as the "most abominable" of his opponents. They, therefore, may now be quoted, not as made up for the occasion, but as the unchanging doctrine we ever have maintained, and to which we still firmly adhere. Campbellism as the last thing with which any man, at all informed on the subject, would think of charging us.

This very point is strictly guarded in the article itself. We have there remarked (p. 36, 37). "Experimental religion is a science which cannot be learned but by the operations of grace in the soul. The Spirit of God, which dwells in us, bears witness with our spirits that we are the children of God. Upon this evidence is that faith founded by which being justified, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ." With these facts before his eyes, who could suppose that even an anti would have the hardihood to charge the Editor with "ascribing the regeneration of the soul to the word of God independently of his Spirit and grace!" On this part of the matter we need add nothing more."
(Page 105)

For citations see here

Clearly, Dr. Howell rejected both the "word alone" view of the Campbellites, and the "Spirit alone" view of the Hardshells. Clearly he defined regeneration as being the same as conversion, or being made a subject of faith and repentance.

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