How Abraham Booth Relates to
Heresy of Decisional Regeneration
|Abraham Booth (1734-1806), in his Glad Tidings To Perishing Sinners, placed saving faith before regeneration and the indwelling f the Holy Spirit. By quoting Puritan writings out of context, he presents a misleading view of saving faith as not the fruit of regeneration, but its cause. He says faith is the "instrument" of regeneration, thus confusing common faith with saving faith. The following exerpts show why Jonathan Edwards considered Booth's Glad Tidings To perishing Sinners to be confusing at best.|
"Regeneration must precede faith. This, though assumed as a certain fact:, may be justly doubted: for the page of inspiration does not warrant our supposing, that any one is born of God, before he believes in Jesus Christ; or, that regeneration is effected by the Holy Spirit, without the word of grace".
THESE ARE TWO SEPARATE STATEMENTS. 1) "the page of inspiration does not warrant our supposing, that any one is born of God, before he believes in Jesus Christ".
YES, COMMON FAITH IN THE GOSPEL (see Jonathan Edwards, Junior on "duty faith") ALMOST ALWAYS PRECEEDS REGENERATION. BUT BOOTH IS TALKING ABOUT SAVING FAITH.
STATEMENT # 2) "(the page of Inspiration does not warrant our supposing) that regeneration is effected by the Holy Spirit, without the word of grace".
NO ONE HAS SAID THAT REGENERATION IS EFFECTED WITHOUT THE WORD OF GRACE - BUT THAT DOES NOT MEAN THE WORD OF GRACE IS WHAT CAUSES REGENERATION! BOOTH HAS FALLEN INTO THE SAME HERESY TRAP AS BAPTISMAL REGENERATION, WHICH WRESTS THE SCRIPTURES "even baptism doth also now save us" (1 Peter 3:21) AND "the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost" (Titus 3:5) TO MEAN THAT BAPTISM CAUSES REGENERATION.
SIMILARLY, BOOTH WRESTS THE SCRIPTURES "the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation" (Rom 1:16) AND "Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God" (1 Peter 1:23) TO MEAN THE WORD OF GOD CAUSES REGENERATION. THIS HERESY WOULD BECOME FULL BLOWN AFTER THE CIVIL WAR AMONG SOME FOURTH GENERATION NEW LIGHT CALVINISTS AND MOST FIFTH GENERATION NEW LIGHT CALVINISTS.
"For we are taught, by the sacred writers, to consider the word of truth, with regard to adults, as the mean of regeneration, and of many other happy effects. They teach, for instance, That it is the instrument of enlightening the mind, of awakening the conscience, and of softening the heart. The entrance of thy word giveth light—The word of God is quick and powerful, and sharper than any two edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul spirit, and of the joints and marrow—Is not my word like as fire? saith the Lord; and like a hammer, that breaketh the rock in pieces” That is the instrument, things are more evidently contained, or more strongly asserted in Scripture, than the instrumentality of divine truth in the regeneration of sinners".
ABRAHAM BOOTH PROVIDES HERE ONE OF THE EARLIEST (1797) PARTICULAR BAPTIST STATEMENTS THAT THE WORD OF GOD IS THE CAUSE OF SAVING FAITH WITH DE FACTO REGENERATION, A FULL CENTURY BEFORE FIFTH GENERATION NEW LIGHT CALVINISTS MADE SIMILAR STATEMENTS (SEE FRANK HAVEN HINMAN 1859-1894).
"It is there described as the honored mean, as the feed of God, by which the Holy Spirit effects the regeneration, the sanctification, and the consolation of those that are saved. But it is impossible for us to conceive of the mind being enlightened, of the conscience being relieved, of the will being regulated, and of the affections being purified, by the word of truth, any further than it is believed. To conclude, therefore, that regeneration is not, in order of time, previous to faith in Christ".