Introduction to the Study of the New Birth -- By: Herman A. Hoyt
GJ 1:1 (Spr 60) p. 21
Introduction to the Study of the New Birth
Dean and Professor of New Testament
Grace Theological Seminary
The material in this article will constitute chapter 1 in a forthcoming book, The New Birth, to be published later this year by Dunham Publishing Company.
There is no more important doctrine in the Bible than that of New Birth. It is that requisite experience in order to the realization of the kingdom of God. There can never be a perfect rule of God over intelligent creatures until there is a rule of God in such creatures. And the connecting link between these two things is the new birth, an impartation of the life of God to men so that they will be perfectly qualified to constitute the realm of God’s rule and respond to the function of God’s rule.
Little is revealed in the Old Testament concerning this ministry of the Holy Spirit. But there is still sufficient to arrest the attention of the careful student as to the importance of the new birth. Not until one advances into the New Testament is he alerted to the full significance of the Old Testament revelation. In fact, no less a teacher than Nicodemus had to have this called to his attention by the Lord Jesus Christ (John 3:10). If his oversight aroused concern, then the situation among theologians today who possess also the New Testament is criminal.
It is this state of affairs within the church that provides the occasion for this study. The president of a well-known theological seminary writes in a leading daily newspaper of a large city: “Worship services everywhere are filled to overflowing and church support is better than ever, but great reticence is shown about translating the Gospel into ethical terms. Consequently civil affairs have been passing by default into the hands of unscrupulous men. Bribery and corruption are almost taken for granted in every city across the country. Our streets are not safe after dark. Muggings, knifings, dope addiction, prostitution, murder, teen-age sex orgies, obscene literature—these are now the order of the day, to be casually perused in the daily newspapers, or half listened to on the 10 o’clock news.”
It will be noted that it is the church that is being held responsible for this shocking situation in present day society. And perhaps the blame is being placed on the proper group. But perhaps there is also a more underlying reason for the failure of the church. Perhaps it lies in the fact that church rolls are today overflowing with an unregenerate membership. Never having experienced the new birth, it is impossible for them to express the moral and spiritual virtues of God. They are indeed exhibiting all the externals of religion, ...
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