I’m hoping to do some extended thinking (and preaching?!) on regeneration in the next few weeks/months, and I was thinking I should line up a list for reading and meditating on this important doctrine. Unfortunately, it can be a little difficult to find extended discourses on the topic of regeneration. I attribute that to a variety of factors:
- In the history of doctrine, regeneration has been something of a moving target, especially for Calvin’s successors, where regeneration can mean anything from conversion, repentance, sanctification, or the newer clarification of speaking exclusively of the (initiation of) spiritual life.
- The Westminster Confession never dealt specifically with the doctrine, subsuming it under “Effectual Call” (WCF X.1) and “Sanctification” (WCF XIII). Thus in the commentaries, sermons, and treatises following this document, it was easy for regeneration to also be subsumed.
- Ususally when this doctrine is taught on, it quickly gets co-opted into a different theological argument. For example, regeneration is battled over between monergists (Calvinism) and synergists (Arminians, etc.), or in baptism in Dutch theological circles (presumptive regeneration vs. election). Unfortunately, while pursuing other worthwhile arguments, clearly stating what regeneration is can often be overlooked.
So other than various dogmatic and systematic theologies where regeneration may receive its own chapter or section, where else do you go to look at this doctrine? Here are a few I’m going to be considering. Listed in chronological order:
Peter van Mastricht A Treatise on Regeneration
John Witherspoon A Practical Treatise on Regeneration (download)
John Piper Finally Alive! (download)
See this helpful compilation of authors like Hodge, Rutherford, Buchanan, and Alexander here. As mentioned in the comments, Swinnock’s treatise on regeneration, The Door of Salvation Opened By the Key of Regeneration is here.
Many of the standards, like Bavinck, Murray, and others should of course be added to the list, but I’m leaving systematic works off for now. Who else would you add to this list?