About Regeneration

Essential Truths in the Heart of a Christian (Classics of Reformed Spirituality) Wilhelmus Schortinguis was a pastor who served in German and Dutch Reformed churches until he died in 1750.  Though not all of his work was widely accepted and read, his booklet that summarized the Christian faith in catechetical form was quite popular.  The title of this booklet is Essential Truths in the Heart of A Christian.  I enjoyed his section on regeneration; I’ll post a few of his Q/A’s on this topic below:

Q: What is regeneration?  A: A total change of the total person (2 Cor. 5:17) whereby he passes from death to life through the inner working of the Holy Spirit (Titus 3:5; 1 John 3:14).

Q: What is the condition of the whole man before regeneration? A: His mind is totally darkened (1 Cor. 2:14), his judgement erroneous (Job 21:15), his will unholy (Rom. 8:7), his inclinations totally impure (2 Pet. 2:10), his passions unbridled (2 Pet. 2:12), and his bodily members weapons of unrighteousness (Rom. 6:13).

Q: How does God change the depraved person through regeneration? A: His mind is enlightened through the working of the Spirit of the Lord (2 Cor. 4:6), his judgment cleared up (…), his will turned and sanctified (Acts 9:6), his inclinations purified (Ps. 119:97), his passions controlled (Ps. 131:2), and all his bodily members made weapons of righteousness (Rom. 6:13).

Q: What are the characteristics of regeneration? A: It is supernatural (John 3:5), powerful (Eph. 1:19), experiential (Is. 42:16), immediate, and changes a person completely (2 Cor. 5:17).  It encompasses (Rom 12:2) all intentions, habits, language, morals, and associations.

Q: Does regeneration make a person perfect instantaneously? A: Although this change affects the whole person, corruption and shortcomings of body and soul remain, which give birth to a constant struggle between Spirit and flesh (Gal. 5:17, Phil. 3:12).

Q: Why is this change called regeneration?  Because it resembles the first and natural birth in so many remarkable aspects (John 3:3-5).

William Schortinghuis, Essential Truths in the Heart of A Christian, ch 23.

Shane Lems
Covenant Presbyterian Church
Hammond, WI