Theology

by J.I. Packer

In reply Jesus declared, “I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.” JOHN 3:3

Regeneration is a New Testament concept that grew, it seems, out of a parabolic picture-phrase that Jesus used to show Nicodemus the inwardness and depth of the change that even religious Jews must undergo if they were ever to see and enter the kingdom of God, and so have eternal life (John 3:3-15). Jesus pictured the change as being “born again.”

The concept is of God renovating the heart, the core of a person’s being, by implanting a new principle of desire, purpose, and action, a dispositional dynamic that finds expression in positive response to the gospel and its Christ. Jesus’ phrase “born of water and the Spirit” (John 3:5) harks back to Ezekiel 36:25-27, where God is pictured as symbolically cleansing persons from sin’s pollution (by water) and bestowing a “new heart” by putting his Spirit within them. Because this is so explicit, Jesus chides Nicodemus, “Israel’s teacher,” for not understanding how new birth happens (John 3:9-10). Jesus’ point throughout is that there is no exercise of faith in himself as the supernatural Savior, no repentance, and no true discipleship apart from this new birth.
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from Keith Mathison
originally posted here:

When Dutch Calvinists and Arminians squared off against one another in the early part of the seventeenth century, the Calvinists won the opening battle. The controversy, however, soon spread beyond the borders of the Netherlands. Now, four hundred years later, the conflict continues, and in terms of numbers alone, Arminianism is clearly winning the war for the hearts and minds of professing Christians. Today, Calvinists are a small minority. But why the debate in the first place? Is it really that important?

Many professing Christians today would say that the debate between Calvinism and Arminianism should be put to rest, that we have more important things to think about. Robert A. Peterson and Michael D. Williams disagree. In their book, Why I Am Not an Arminian (IVP, 2004), these two authors not only explain what Arminianism is, they demonstrate how it is biblically, theologically, and philosophically unsound and why it must be rejected by those concerned to be faithful to the teaching of Scripture.

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For over forty years, Pastor Albert N. Martin faithfully served the Lord and His people as an elder of Trinity Baptist Church of Montville, New Jersey.

Due to increasing and persistent health problems, he stepped down as one of their pastors, and in June, 2008, Pastor Martin and his wife, Dorothy, relocated to Michigan, where they are seeking the Lord’s will regarding future ministry.

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