Dec 28, 2011

Edwards on Regeneration

Though some affirm that Jonathan Edwards taught the hybrid "born again before faith" view, the following citations show otherwise. Edwards did not think that regeneration was different from conversion. 

Edwards wrote (all emphasis mine - SG):

"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 effected by 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.'"

"Regeneration is that whereby men come to have the character of true Christians; as is evident, and as is confessed; and so is circumcision of heart; for by this men become Jews inwardly, or Jews in the spiritual and Christian sense (and that is the same as being true Christians), as of old proselytes were made Jews by circumcision of the flesh. Rom. ii. 28,29, "For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh: but he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit and not in the letter, whose praise is not of men, but of God...That circumcision of the heart is the same with conversion, or turning from sin to God, is evident by Jer. iv. 1—4, "If thou wilt return, 0 Israel, return (or, convert unto me)—circumcise yourselves to the Lord, and put away the foreskins of your heart." And Deut. x. 16, " Circumcise therefore the foreskin of your heart, and be no more stiff-necked...Circumcision of the heart is the same change of the heart that men pass under in their repentance; as is evident by Levit xxvi. 41, " If their uncircumcised hearts be humbled, and they accept the punishment of their iniquity."

"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 living unto righteousness...That a spiritual resurrection to a new divine life, should be called a being born again, is agreeable to the language of Scripture, in which we find a resurrection is called a being born, or begotten...This change, which men are the subjects of 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."

"It is needless here to stand to observe, how evidently this is spoken of as necessary to salvation, and as the change in which are attained the habits of true virtue and holiness, and the character of a true saint; as has been observed of regeneration, conversion, &c, and how apparent it is from thence, that the change is the same. For it is as it were self-evident: it is apparent by the phrases themselves, that they are different expressions of the same thing. Thus repentance (metanoia) or the change of the mind, is the same as being changed to a new mind, or a new heart and spirit. Conversion is the turning of the heart; which is the same thing as changing it so, that there shall be another heart, or a new heart, or a new spirit."

"The apostle does in effect tell us, that when he speaks of that spiritual death and resurrection which is in conversion, he means the same thing as crucifying and burying the old man, and rising a new man."  (pgs. 466-470)

"It appears from this, together with what has been proved above, that it is most certain 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."  (pg. 471)


See here

"Much has been said concerning regeneration by light, and by moral suasion. If they who use this language mean no more, than that men are not regenerated in paganism, and so without the light and motives of the gospel; and that under the gospel they are commonly regenerated in consequence of attention to the gospel and of awakening and conviction in view of the truths and motives of it; and that the regenerate turn from sin to God in view of those truths and motives, though not by them as the efficient cause; I shall not oppose them, though I think their phraseology in many instances leads to a different understanding. In the sense now explained, we may understand the following texts, "Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth;" "Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth forever;" "I have begotten you through the gospel," etc."  (pgs. 109-113)


See here

No comments: