Friday, August 1, 2008

The New Birth

"We believe that our Christian faith is a continuous perpetuation of a major miracle, the new birth. It is a vital and unique work of God in human nature. It is not reasoning yourself into a position, but something happening that cannot be explained; for what happens to a Christian can never be explained by a psychologist. In that great and terrible day there will be those white with shock when they find that they depended on a mental assent to Christianity instead of on a miracle of new birth."
-A.W. Tozer

1 comment:

Hudson Smith said...

Tozer always says things like this. And in a sense, I always agree. The Christian life must be more than raw mental assent. It seems, however, that in traditional reformed theology (in Biblical theology) the Holy Spirit works change in the mind to trust in the work of Christ. This might be called a mental assent. Furthermore, this assent, as fueled by the working of the Holy Spirit, is nothing less than re-birth.

Eph 4:19 They have become callous and have given themselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity.
Eph 4:20 But that is not the way you learned Christ!--
Eph 4:21 assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus,
Eph 4:22 to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires,
Eph 4:23 and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds

As he attempts to re-emphasize a crucial focus of the Christian life, he builds up an unnecessary dichotomy between faith and reason. I do not think he sets out to do so, and perhaps I take him out of context.