Our Question Box

Dr. Leonard Greenway, pastor of the Riverside Christian Reformed Church of Grand Rapids, Michigan, is in charge of Our Question Box. This department is for everyone. No signatures are required and no names are published.

Although we are happy about the popularity of this department, we regret that, due to al1 the questions now on hand, no more should be sent until further notice. The patience of those with questions will therefore be appreciated.

From a reader in California–

Question: I have the impression that many evangelists today confuse regeneration with conversion. They seem to think that regeneration is something we accomplish. I would appreciate your comments on this. Am I in error?

Answer: No, you are not. I have pretty much the same impression about the average evangelistic message that comes over radio and television. John D. Jess whose “Chapel of the Air” carries some fine programs, provides us with a good illustration of the confusion to which you refer. In a radio message entitled “The Other Birthday” he says, “Your first birthday was an event in which you played no part—had no choice. Through the instrumentality of human parents you were given the gift of physical life and endowed with a body which will exist and function on this planet for a given number of years; then it will die and return to the dust of the earth. The Other Birthday, described by Christ in His conversation with Nicodemus, is an event in which you must make the decision to receive new life by faith in Him. You choose, of your own free will, to become a Christian—to receive eternal life through faith in His sacrificial death on Calvary for your sins. Then, and only then, you will understand the meaning of this Other Birthday. You will know what it means to be born again.”

It is difficult to understand how conscientious Bible students can make this doctrinal blunder. Regeneration, whether you view it as new birth, birth from above Uohn 3:3), or a spiritual resurrection (Eph. 2:1), or a new creation (II Cor. 5:17) is solely the work of God. Man has no part in it for the simplreason that a dead person cannot assist in his own resurrection. A sinner who is dead in trespasses and sins cannot participate in the Divine word that quickens him out of the grave of sin.

When we are in God‘s domain, as we are in the work of regeneration, let us not dishonor Him by even imagining that we can have a hand in working this miracle.