if you turned into it a hundred rivers like the Nile. Man may hear sermons for a lifetime, and still be barren of all spiritual growths. The soil of the heart needs to be changed, and the good seed of the kingdom needs to be planted there.
For the view that truth is ?energized? or ?intensified? by the Holy Spirit, see Phelps, New Birth, 61, 121; Walker, Philosophy of Plan of Salvation, chap. 18. Per Contra, see Wardlaw, Systematic Theology, 3:24, 25; E.
D. Griffin, Divine Efficiency, 73-116; Anderson, Regeneration, 123-168; Edwards, Works, 2:547-597; Chalmers, Lectures on Romans, chap. 1; Payne, Divine Sovereignty, lect. 23:363-367; Hodge, Systematic Theology, 3:3-37, 466-485. On the whole subject of the Efficient Cause of Regeneration, see Hopkins, Works, 454; Dwight, Theology, 2:418-429; John Owen, Works, 3:282-297, 366-538; Robert Hall, Sermon on the Cause, Agent, and Purpose of Regeneration.
A. The Roman, English and Lutheran churches hold that regeneration is accomplished through the instrumentality of baptism. The Disciples, followers of Alexander Campbell, make regeneration include baptism, as well as repentance and faith. To the view that baptism is a. means of regeneration we urge the following objections:
(a) The Scriptures represent baptism to be not the means but only the sign of regeneration, and therefore to presuppose and follow regeneration. For this reason only, believers ? that is, persons giving credible evidence of being regenerated ? were baptized ( <440812>Acts 8:12). Not external baptism, but the conscientious turning of the soul to God which baptism symbolizes, saves us <600321>1 Peter 3:21 ? suneidh>sewv ajgaqh~v, ejperw>thma ). Texts like <430305>John 3:5, <440238>Acts 2:38, <510212>Colossians 2:12, <560305>Titus 3:5, are to be explained upon the principle that regeneration, the inward change, and baptism, the outward sign of that change, were regarded as only different sides or aspects of the same fact. Either side or aspect might therefore be described in terms derived from the other.
(b) Upon this view, there is a striking incongruity between the nature of the change to be wrought and the means employed to produce it. The change is a spiritual one, but the means are physical. It is far more rational to suppose that, in changing the character of intelligent beings, God uses means, which have relation to their intelligence. The view we are considering is part and parcel of a general scheme of mechanical rather
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