Justification and Regeneration

What Theologians Are Saying

  • “John Witherspoon is often portrayed as a patriot, academic, moralist, or churchman. These are all true. But here in these essays on justification and regeneration, carefully edited by Kevin DeYoung, we discover that Witherspoon was preeminently a theologian and gospel preacher. This descendent of John Knox was deeply committed to the imputation of the righteousness of Christ and the necessity of the new birth through the supernatural work of the Holy Spirit. I’m grateful to Dr. DeYoung for pointing readers once again to what the influential college president, patriot, and Presbyterian preacher held to be ‘the doctrine of Christ, the Scripture method of salvation,’ and ‘fundamental truth,’ as well as the ‘substance of religion,’ namely that ‘except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.’ The works reprinted here are wonderful evidence that Witherspoon, the only clergyman who signed the Declaration of Independence, not only believed in the great American cause, but more importantly, believed in the cause of the cross of Christ.” —Peter A. Lillback
  • “We associate John Witherspoon mostly with his immense contribution to the American republic. Thanks to Kevin DeYoung, we can now see him also as a premier Reformed theologian defending the biblical doctrines of justification and the new birth in a revivalistic context not so different from our own. I am thrilled that these accessible essays can have a fresh impact on churches today.” —Michael Horton
  • “John Witherspoon’s two mid-eighteenth-century treatises on justification and regeneration are, on one level, a sober and straightforward statement of the two central concerns of a Reformed and evangelical faith, and deserve a place beside contemporaneous classics on these topics by John Gill, Thomas Boston, Ebenezer Erskine, and Thomas Halyburton. Just as important, these two writings plant Witherspoon firmly in the roiled waters of the Great Awakening and its bitterly divided aftermath, and link him firmly to the Old School family of Archibald Alexander and Charles Hodge. Witherspoon understood that bad practice was the fruit of defective doctrine, and that smoothing the path of revival by the sacrifice of truth concerning justification and regeneration would yield, in the end, neither truth nor revival. Kevin DeYoung’s careful edition of Witherspoon’s treatises is a must-have for any Reformed pastor’s shelf.” —Allen C. Guelzo
  • “Kevin DeYoung’s edition of Justification and Regeneration is not only an excellent and informative resource but also engaging. The glorious hymn lyric—‘...He breaks the power of cancelled sin...’—comes alive. Knowing the implications of justification for ‘cancelled sin’ and the blessings of emancipation in the ‘breaking of the power of sin’ will be afresh and anew. More than a lyric, it will become transformative in your life and ministry.” —Harry Reeder III
  • “I have spent much of my academic career reading the works of English Particular Baptist divines in the long eighteenth century. But two of the key books that they avidly read and recommended were not written by an English Baptist but by the Scottish Presbyterian John Witherspoon. . . Witherspoon’s essays proved to be particularly helpful to these Calvinistic Baptists. Witherspoon on regeneration, with its link between the new birth and a life of virtue, helped them fight what Thomas Chalmers called ‘the hydra of Antinomianism.’ I am immensely pleased that these two classic works of Reformed theology are once again in print with their vital reminder of the nature of the Gospel. . .” —Michael A.G. Haykin

Kevin DeYoung and Peter Lillback Discuss Witherspoon

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