Book Review: Regeneration and Conversion – W. E. Best

I don’t remember exactly how I discovered W. E. Best’s book Regeneration and Conversion. Nevertheless, I recently read it and will probably return to it now and again for various reasons, as well read other books by this wonderful Pastor and author. The list of his books found here has this to say as an introduction to Regeneration and Conversion:

“How does a person become a true Christian? Many people believe they have to earn good standing with God by their upright moral behavior, including their choice to have faith in God. Salvation is entirely the work of a sovereign and gracious God. Regeneration is an immediate act of God that imparts the principle of life without any participation by men. Conversion is the beginning of a holy life, and is the first of many conversion experiences throughout the Christian’s earthly pilgrimage. God doesn’t make bad people into good people; instead, He makes dead people alive, grants faith to believe the gospel, and transforms hearts so that we then want to obey Him.”

Naturally, the book is divided into the two sections in the title, Regeneration and Conversion. Both sections discuss their respective subjects using the most chapter of the Bible, the Gospel of John, as the central biblical focus, using Jesus’ interaction with Nicodemus to address in-depth each topic.

The introduction to the topic of Regeneration begins thusly:

“The religious world is staggering under the influence of a depraved intellectualism which denies God His right to operate among the peoples of the world as He pleases. No one can believe in free will and free grace at the same time. These subjects are as diametrically opposed as light and darkness, heaven and hell, or a holy God and an unholy man, To believe in free will dethrones the sovereign God; to believe in free grace dethrones depraved man. Who is on the throne in your concept of salvation?”

The introduction to the topic of Conversion has this to say:

“The subject in John 3:14-18 is conversion, not regeneration. It may seem to the untutored Christian that conversion is synonymous with regeneration, but the student of Scripture soon learns to distinguish the difference. Regeneration is the sole act of God in the heart of the sinner, and is described in the Bible by such terms as these: new birth (John 3:3, 5); God’s workmanship (Eph. 2:10); and a new creature (II Cor. 5:17). Conversion, however, is the turning of the regenerate by the influence of God’s grace.”

This book makes a compelling case for the necessity of regeneration preceding faith in the life of all genuine believers. Every believer in Christ either exercises his/her own natural faith and is then “born again” (regenerated), or must be regenerated first, followed by exercising saving faith and receiving the new birth.

I must confess that for a long time I was convinced that my new birth was the result of a natural free will decision after acknowledging that Christ was the sacrifice for my sin. Over time, I have come to believe that the new birth was necessary before I could savingly believe in Christ.

Regardless of what you personally believe, W.E. Best makes a compelling case for his argument and I highly recommend reading Regeneration and Conversion, for spiritual stimulation and exercise!

________________

Wilbern Elias (W. E.) Best was born on June 18, 1919 and went home to be with the Lord on June 15, 2007. Brother Best was married to Ada Juanita Best for 64 years and had a son named Richard. Ada Juanita Best was born on February 4, 1919 and stepped out of time into eternity on December 14, 2002. Brother Best served our Lord in the Gospel ministry for over 60 years and pastored churches in Missouri and in Texas.

Works by W. E. Best can be accessed and downloaded using the following links:

Free Books on Christian Theology and Bible Study | W. E. Best Book Missionary Trust (webbmt.org)

W.E. Best Library (springassemblyofchrist.org)

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