Worldinvisible Newsletter

March 2021    No. 143

Regeneration and Entire Sanctification-1

From Perfect Love by JA Wood-part 4

EDITOR'S NOTE: This is Part 4 of a series of excerpts from a book, "Perfect Love, or, Plain Things for Those who Need Them." The book is in the public domain. It tells of a spiritual life higher than many people believe to be possible. The author says that he has experienced this higher spiritual life, and wants his readers to experience it too.

SECTION IV.

  1. Do the Scriptures teach a distinction between regeneration and entire sanctification?

    They do. "And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ. For ye are yet carnal; for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?" "Having, therefore, these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God." "And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly." "Sanctify them through thy truth thy word is truth." All these passages have reference to Christians in a regenerated state, but not entirely sanctified.9. Does the Christian Church generally recognize this distinction?

    It does.

"By a consent almost universal," says Rev. Dr. Hodge, "the word regeneration is now used to designate, not the whole work of sanctification." — According to the Scriptures, and the undeniable evidence of history, regeneration does not remove all sin." — Systematic Theology, vol. iii p. 290.

Prof. Upham says: "The distinction which is made in the Scriptures between the two is regarded so obvious and incontrovertible by most writers, that it has naturally passed as an established truth into treatises on theology." — Interior Life.

"That there is sin in the incipient believer," says Dr. John Dempster, "is a scriptural truth, sustained by many kinds of evidence. The denial of it is a position utterly novel. It is less than two centuries old. Till that modern date, no part of the Greek or Latin churches was ever infected with it. And in the Reformed churches it was never heard of only among a few raving Antinomians." — Sermon at Biblical Institute.

  1. Does the Methodist Church teach a distinction?

    She does very clearly in her Discipline, Catechism, Hymn Book, and by all her standard authorities.1. The Discipline recognizes a state of entire sanctification as attainable subsequent to regeneration and previous to death.Every minister of the Methodist Episcopal Church has affirmed, by his ordination vows, that entire sanctification is a distinct work, subsequent to regeneration. In the Discipline, Part II sec. 11, are the following questions: "Have you faith in Christ? Are you going on unto perfection? Do you expect to be made perfect in love in this life? Are you groaning after it?" These questions suppose that "perfection," or "perfect love," is distinct from and subsequent to regeneration.2. The official Catechisms of the Methodist Church were revised by Bishop Hedding, Nathan Bangs, Stephen Olin, and Joseph Holdich, and then examined and indorsed by the General Conference in 1552. These Catechisms define Regeneration — "The new birth of the soul in the image of Christ, whereby we become the children of God;" and Entire Sanctification — "The state of being entirely cleansed from sin, so as to love God with all our heart and mind, and soul and strength."

    3. The Hymn Book teaches a distinction. Every edition from the first, has contained a specific class of hymns on sanctification. These hymns, more numerous than those on any other subject, were written principally by the Wesleys, to define, defend, and promote entire sanctification, in early Methodism when it was greatly controverted. In the changes made in the Hymn Book from time to time during the past century, many sweet and clearly defined hymns on this subject have been left out; still our Hymnal contains a beautiful and choice selection upon it.

Speak the second time, 'Be clean.'
Take away my inbred sin;
Every stumblingblock remove;
Cast it out by perfect love."

— Chas. Wesley.

The seed of sin's disease,
Spirit of health, remove,
Spirit of finished holiness,
Spirit of perfect love."

— Chas. Wesley.

"Refining fire, go through my heart,
Illuminate my soul
Scatter thy life through every part,
And sanctify the whole."

— Chas. Wesley.

  1. All the leading writers and standard authorities of Methodism teach a distinction. Mr. Wesley might be quoted very largely; we will insert only a few lines from him. He says: "Sanctification begins in the moment a man is justified. Yet sin remains in him, yea, the seed of all sin, till he is sanctified throughout." — Works, vol. vi. p. 496. See Plain Account — Sermons, vol. i. p. 124; also vol. i. p. 119.
  2. Rev.. Richard Watson says: "That a distinction exists between a regenerate state and a state of entire and perfect holiness, will be generally allowed." — Institutes, Part II. chap. 29.2. Rev. John Fletcher says: "We do not deny that the remains of the carnal mind still cleave to imperfect Christians." "This fault, corruption or infection, doth remain in them who are regenerated." — Last Check, p. 507-541.3. Dr. Adam Clark said to a friend who had been misinformed in regard to his views of entire sanctification: "As to the words which you quote as mine, I totally disclaim them. I never said, I never intended to say them. I believe Justification and Sanctification to be widely distinct works." He used the term justification as including regeneration. — Everett's Life of Dr. A. Clark.

    4. "Regeneration also, being the same as the new birth," says Bishop Hedding "is the beginning of sanctification, though not the completion of it, or not entire sanctification. Regeneration is the beginning of purification; entire sanctification is the finishing of that work." — Address at N. J. Con.

    5. Bishop Hamline says: "That this perfect love, or entire sanctification, is specifically a new state, and not the mere improvement of a former state, or of regeneration, is plainly inferred from the Bible." — Beauty of Holiness, 1862, p. 264.6. Bishop Foster says: "Regeneration is not entire sanctification; the merely regenerate are not sanctified; they are not entirely free from sin; they are not perfect in love." — Christian Purity, p. 69.

    7. Dr. George Peck says: "The doctrine of entire sanctification, as a DISTINCT WORK wrought in the soul by the Holy Ghost, is the GREAT DISTINGUISHING DOCTRINE OF METHODISM. This given up, and we have little left which we do not told in common with other evangelical denominations." "The position that justification and entire sanctification take place at one and the same time, and that regeneration and entire sanctification are identical, is clearly contrary to the position taken by our standard theologians." — Christian Perfection, p. 363.

    8. Rev. Wm. McDonald: "Regeneration and entire sanctification are not received at one and the same time, except, perhaps, in a few extraordinary cases, if, indeed, the case ever occurs." — New Testament Standard, p. 44.

    9. Bishop Thomson, at the West Virginia Conference, in his last clerical address a few days before his death, said: "The justified and regenerate discover in themselves the remains of the carnal mind. If you accept the theory that you are sanctified when you are justified, if you find the remains of sin after you experience regeneration, you will be led to a melancholy conclusion. The opposite view, that we cannot be made pure, is equally pernicious."

    10. Dr. Raymond, in his "Systematic Theology," says: "Entire sanctification is not usually, if ever, contemporary with regeneration. Regeneration is, in most cases of Christian experience, if not in all, initial sanctification, not complete, perfect renewal. The regenerated person is not, at the moment of regeneration, wholly sanctified." — Article on Sanctification.

    11. Rev. Dr. Lowry says: "The position is supportable, on Scripture grounds, that true believers, born of the Spirit, and loving God, may be, and ordinarily are, the subjects of a residuum of inherent sin." — Positive Theology, p. 234.

    12. Bishop M. Simpson says: "Sanctification is not regeneration." — "Methodism differs from Moravianism in that it does not hold regeneration and entire sanctification to be identical." — Christian Perfection, in Encyclopedia of Methodism.

    These citations might be greatly multiplied; those given are sufficient to indicate the voice of the church on this question.

TO BE CONTINUED

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