Allen Nelson is pastor of Providence Baptist Church in Perryville, Arkansas. He’s also the author of “Before the Throne: Reflections on God's Holiness,” “From Death to Life: How Salvation Works,” and “A Change of Heart: Understanding Regeneration and Why it Matters.” He also writes for Things Above, a Christian group blog dedicated to Missions, Evangelism, Theology, and Sports, which is at thingsabove.us. In addition to Things Above, he has some articles up at Founders Ministries as well. He returns this month to discuss Regeneration, which is not only the subject of his latest book, but is a great follow-up to his most recent show with us on Effectual Calling.
For this episode, the outline has been created using the AI tool Podium.page.
Alan Nelson, pastor of Providence Baptist Church and author of multiple books, shares his insights on regeneration and how it affects our understanding of salvation and the Christian life. Alan's book, “A Change of Heart: Understanding Regeneration and Why it Matters” is discussed, and how to get a copy.
Alan shares his journey exploring regeneration and its impact on other Christian doctrines. He discusses the debate between Pelagianism and Augustinianism, and how Wesley's prevenient grace and Charles Finney's views have shaped the church. Alan shares his own experience, including the decision to write his book and how he taught the doctrine of regeneration during COVID-19.
We explore the differences between Pelagianism and Augustinianism, and examine the concept of semi-Pelagianism. We point out how dangerous this understanding of grace can be, and how it denies the sufficiency of God's grace. We also get into the Mormon teaching of ‘after all we can do' and how it relates to synergism. Lastly, we discuss the concept of monergism and how it works in contrast to synergism.
We get into the implications of the idea of prevenient grace and point out that it raises more questions than it answers. Allen explains how the concept of prevenient grace does not satisfy the problem of why some individuals respond to the gospel and some don't. He emphasizes how regeneration touches every area of our lives, and how it is not a process of perfection, but rather a redirection of desire and love toward Christ. The noblest desires of those who reject monergism are commendable but ultimately don't defend God's justice and fairness.
We point out that Open Theism can be a logical [but errant] way to approach the problems with synergistic view of soteriology. We confront the concept of fairness as a challenge to monergistic regeneration; our attitude about someone we love who is not saved, and how the answer is to preach the gospel to them. Jesus promises that all who call on the name of the Lord will be saved; which is a refutation of a major misunderstanding of monergism, and very assuring promise. Allen shares his experience of taking the gospel to the streets of his small town, and we explain how this is a logical consequence of the very doctrine we are discussing.
We explore the necessity of being born again and how Jesus was speaking to all of humanity when he said it. We also discuss the use of Southern vernacular (“y'all”) and the differences between singular and plural of “you” in the modern English language. Finally, we look at the concept of longevity in regards to regeneration and how there is no such thing as unregeneration.
We explore the intricate connection between regeneration and the local church. We discuss why the Father and the Son do not need help in salvation, and why the Holy Spirit doesn't either. We explain why understanding regeneration correctly matters, and how it affects the local church, which is meant for believers only. We also examine how to know if a person is a Christian, and the use of the plural for “you” when Jesus said “you must be born again.”
We discuss the logical arguments used by the Puritans to understand regeneration. We also look at an approach to memorizing scripture; how reading a book of the Bible every day for a month can help in the process. Finally, we examine the necessity of being born again and the connection between regeneration and the local church. We emphasize the role of the church in providing assurance of salvation and the need to flee from all known sin.