Has The Psychology Of Religion Desuper-Naturalized Regeneration? -- By: William Brenton Greene

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 067:266 (Apr 1910)
Article: Has The Psychology Of Religion Desuper-Naturalized Regeneration?
Author: William Brenton Greene


Has The Psychology Of Religion Desuper-Naturalized Regeneration?

Prof. William Brenton Greene

Our Lord taught, “Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God”; “Except a man be born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God” (John 3:3, 5).

This teaching the church of Christ has from the first interpreted to mean that Christian life must begin with regeneration, and that regeneration is essentially a change from spiritual death to spiritual life wrought by the creative, and so supernatural or immediate, agency of God himself. That is, the life of the Christian as such commences with, and can commence only with, the infusion of new life that is. discontinuous with his past life and with the ordinary processes of his consciousness. He is what he is, not because of the natural order, however that may be regarded as planned and originated and sustained and even controlled by God. On the contrary, he is what he is because the order of nature, though not interrupted, has been reinforced and determined by a supernatural intervention. This intervention has been prepared

for, its occasion at least has been provided, through God’s providential direction of the natural order; and it is also in the thus upheld and guided natural order that the results of the intervention reveal themselves: yet what is decisive in the change must be referred, not to the man’s education, not to his environment, not to his own will, not even to his mysterious subliminal consciousness, but wholly to Him who, while ever immanent in, transcends at all points the natural order: that is, immediately to God himself.

All this is well expressed or implied in the Lutheran Formula Concordiæ, which in this respect defines what may justly be called the creed of Christendom. It is to be noted that in this symbol regeneration is spoken of as conversion. The sections referred to run as follows: —

“Conversio hominis talis est immutatio, per operationem Spiritus Sancti, in hominis intellectu, voluntate et corde, qua homo (operatione videlicet Spiritus Sancti) potest oblatam gratiam apprehendere. Hominis autem nondum renati intellectus et voluntas tantum sunt subjectum convertendum, sunt enim hominis spiritualiter mortui intellectus et voluntas, in quo homine Spiritus Sanctus conversionem et renovationem operatur, ad quod opus hominis convertendi voluntas nihil confert, sed patitur, tit Deus in ipsa operetur, donec regeneretur. Postea vero in aliis sequentibus bonis operibus Spiritui Sancto cooperatur, ea faciens, quae Deo grata sunt.”You must have a subscription and be logged in to read the entire article.
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