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Christians have often been tempted to fall into one of three great errors when it comes to the doctrine of conversion (or regeneration). Historically, the word regeneration has signified two related but distinct ideas:
a) Sanctification, i.e., the progressive Spirit-wrought, graciously given growth of the believer in holiness, i.e., conformity to Christ by the putting to death of the old man and the making alive of the new. Among the Fathers of the Church regeneration was regularly used in this first sense. The pre-Dort Reformed theologians used the word regeneration in this sense.
B - Granting - Life - Louis - Berkhof
b) The granting of new life. Louis Berkhof defines regeneration, used in this sense, thus:
With the rise of the Remonstrants and the controversy over the doctrine of salvation, the Reformed came to use the word regeneration principally in this second sense.
Error - Doctrines - Regeneration - Need - Regeneration
The first is great error in the doctrines of regeneration is to downplay or even deny the need for regeneration. This is the Pelagianism. One of the reasons that the Synod of Dort regularly characterized the Remonstrant position as “Pelagian” was because the Remonstrants did downplay the need for regeneration in this sense. Pelagius and his followers denied the federal headship of Adam. According to Pelagius, when Adam fell he merely set a bad example. He argued that we did not fall in him and that we are all, in effect, Adam. Each of us is born without Adam’s original sin and able choose not to sin, to obey, to be perfect, and thereby enter into fellowship with God and eternal life. Even when we do fall, he argued, the effects of the fall are not that grave. In short, for Pelagius, we only become sinners when we sin.
According to Augustine, following the Apostle Paul and the prophet Jeremiah, as we have already...
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