We believe that, in order to be saved, sinners must be regenerated, or born again; that regeneration consists in giving a holy disposition to the mind; that it is effected in a manner above our comprehension by the power of the Holy Spirit, in connection with divine truth, so as to secure our voluntary obedience to the gospel; and that its proper evidence appears in the holy fruits of repentance, and faith, and newness of life.
In case you could not guess, it is taken from one of the historic Reformed confessions, namely the New Hampshire Baptist Confession of 1833. This brief confession was adopted by the New Hampshire Baptist Convention in 1833 and received wider acceptance in many baptist circles around the country.
Now where does this statement come from:
We believe that the Scriptures teach that in order to be saved, sinners must be regenerated, or born again; that regeneration consists in giving a holy disposition to the mind that it is effected in a manner above our comprehension by the power of the Holy Spirit in connection with divine truth, so as to secure our voluntary obedience to the Gospel; and that its proper evidence appears in the holy fruits of repentance and faith, and newness of life.
No, I have not lost my mind. Yes, it is a repeat of the above question, but I have a different answer. This second statement comes from The Articles of Faith found in the back of The New National Baptist Hymnal published by the National Baptist Convention.
The teaching of this statement on the nature of regeneration actually carries with it the seeds for a reformation in the National Baptist Convention. If men would take up the hymnal from which many of them sing every Sunday and teach themselves and their people what their church has historically confessed, they would find that the God they have long heard preached in their churches today is different from the God of the men who first adopted this confession.
I was raised in a National Baptist church. I attended Sunday School conventions and we sang out of the National Baptist hymnal. Yet, I was never taught that regeneration precedes faith (as the above statement suggests). I was never instructed in the theology that leads me to worship a God who is sovereign and to understand the theological implications for my salvation and life. Yet, all the time the hymnal from which we sung contained these truths, not just in the songs, but even in the confession.
I wonder how many National Baptist churches actually take the time to go over the confession with their people. I wonder how many of them actually instruct their children and youth in the doctrines that outline the confession of their church. I know I was not. If any of you are National Baptist could you tell me your experience with the Articles of Faith?
I find it ironic that the seeds for reformation is in the hands of the people every Sunday. Isn't that just like God?