Regeneration, while sometimes perceived to be a step in the Ordo salutis ('order of salvation'), is generally understood in Christian theology to be the objective work of God in a believer's life. Spiritually, it means that God brings Christians to new life from a previous state of subjection to the decay of death (Ephesians 2:4). While the exact Greek noun palingensia ("rebirth" or "regeneration") appears just twice in the New Testament (Matthew 19:28 and Titus 3:5), regeneration represents a wider theme of re-creation and spiritual rebirth. Furthermore, there is the sense in which regeneration includes the concept "being born again" (John 3:3-8 and 1 Peter 1:3).
Historical Interpretations of Regeneration
Lutheran and Roman Catholic theology holds that "baptism confers cleansing of sin, the infusion of regenerating grace and union with Christ." Roman Catholic theology specifically states that regeneration commences with baptism.
Pelagius believed that people were born pure, with God's spirit already at work, making the need for spiritual regeneration from a previous sinful state irrelevant. Since Pelagius, more liberal theology has seen regeneration as more educational then spiritual.
Arminian theology holds that after a believer has made a decision to follow Christ, God regenerates them spiritually.
The twentieth century Church has a newer concept of regeneration called "Decisional Regeneration". "Decisional theology" differs from Baptismal theology only in the fact that it attaches the certainty of the new birth to a different act. This doctrine, just as Baptismal Regeneration, sees the new birth as the result of a mechanical process that can be performed by man.
- Holy Spirit
- Born again (Christianity)
- Decision Theology
- Altar call
- Augustine of Hippo
- Conversion to Christianity
- Sinner's prayer
- Bruce Demarest, The Cross and Salvation: The Doctrine of Salvation (Wheaton: Crossway, 1997): 292.
- Demarest, The Cross and Salvation, 293-294.
- Wayne Grudem, Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Theology (Nottingham: IVP, 1994): 699.
- Demarest, The Cross and Salvation, 281.
- Demarest, The Cross and Salvation, 285.
- H. Burkhardt 'Regeneration' New Dictionary of Theology (Downers Grove: IVP Academic, 1988): 574.
- Demarest, The Cross and Salvation, 279.
- Burkhardt 'Regeneration', 574.
- John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion (III.1.1).
- Demarest, The Cross and Salvation, 288.
- Dictionary of theological terms - Decision theology defined
- A Discussion of “Experience” and “Decision” in Relation to Salvation - A Lutheran perspective
- Decisionism: An Invitation to Cross-Less Christianity - Adapted from Becoming an Emissary for God by Allen Atzbi
- Theological Observer Charles Finney on Theology and Worship by Lawrence R. Rast, Jr.
- Decision Theology: Can you make a decision for Christ? Extreme Theology
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