A Change of Heart: Understanding Regeneration and Why It Matters, by Allen Nelson

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A Change of Heart: Understanding Regeneration and Why It Matters, by Allen Nelson

July 4, 2023

Earlier this year, I had the pleasure of spending time with Allen Nelson at a Conway-Perry Baptist Association Bible conference in central Arkansas (in Conway and Perryville), a gathering which featured Tom Ascol, Mike Stone, and Owen Strachan. The first evening, we met at Grace Bible Theological Seminary in Conway, with Allen moderating the panel consisting of these three men.  The next night, he hosted the group at his church, Second Baptist of Perryville. Here’s the commendatory blurb I was happy to supply this book:



Not long ago, I was asked to write on the topic, “If Christianity is so good, why are Christians so bad?”—a question made vastly more difficult by the problem of “false professors” in the pews. I’m grateful that Allen Nelson has accessibly, persuasively, and winsomely laid out the case for restricting the title, “Christian,” to the regenerate. As A Change of Heart negotiates the theological currents and rapids associated with monergism, Ordo salutis, sacraments, etc., it’s chock-full of Scripture citations, helpful analogies (employing The Princess Bride, spinach, buzzards, and a hostage situation), and rich quotes (such as Martyn Lloyd-Jones’s “It is true of a man not only that he is in the dark, but that the darkness is also in him”) . . . with even a touch of humor (referring to Jesus’s John 3 visit to “Nick at Night”). And Nelson’s use of other voices is most impressive, so much so that I started grouping them alphabetically to see if every letter was covered. Pretty close, to include this sampling: Augustine and Ascol; Beeke, Berkhof, Bavinck, Bunyan, and Boettner; Calvin, Carson, and Cyprian; Dagg, Edwards, Flavel, Grudem, Hodge, Judson, Keach, Luther, MacArthur, Nettles, Owen, Packer, Reisinger, Sproul, Tertullian, Vaughan, and, for W, Wesley, Whitefield, Watson, and Washer. 


When I was a trustee at Southern back in the 1980s, a candidate for tenure was working at cross-purposes with the Abstract of Principles’ Article VI on “The Fall of Man,” which states that Adam’s “posterity inherit a nature corrupt and wholly opposed to God and His law.” I wish that she’d had this book on hand to help clear up her thinking.