Sep 25, 2010

A. H. Strong on Conviction

It is an error of the Hardshells, in their understanding of regeneration (new birth), and its attendant evidences, to speak of the experience of conviction of sin as a result of regeneration. This is a grave error, and leads to fateful consequences. First, those who are unregenerate, yet under conviction, are told that they are regenerate, which keeps them from believing and following Christ, and gives them false assurance. It makes them harder to convert. Second, professing Christians who believe this error are always looking within to see if they are still experiencing the sorrows of conviction, being their way of "making their calling and election sure."

The biblical and Baptistic view is ably expressed by that great bible scholar, Augustus H. Strong, and is taken from his Systematic Theology, the section on "conversion,," pages 826, 827). He wrote:

"Conviction of sin is an ordinary, antecedent of regeneration. It results from the contemplation of truth. It is often accompanied by fear, remorse, and cries for mercy. But these desries and fears are not signs of regeneration. They are selfish. They are quite consistent with manifest and dreadful enmity to God. They have a hopeful aspect, simply because they are evidence that the Holy Spirit is striving with the man. But this work of the Spirit is not yet regeneration; at most, is preparation for regeneration. So far as the sinner is concerned, he is more of a sinner than ever before; because, under more light than has ever before been given him, he is still rejecting Christ and resisting the Spirit. The word of God and the Holy Spirit appeal to the lower as well as to higher motives; most men's concern about religion is determined, at the outset, by hope or fear."

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