Healthy doctrines of justification and regeneration have always been essential to the Christian’s faith and knowledge of God. In the context of 18th century Great Britain and its American Colonies, few treatments were as highly regarded as John Witherspoon’s An Essay on Justification and A Practical Treatise on Regeneration, both reprinted in this volume. Providing a careful summary of Witherspoon’s life and thought, Kevin DeYoung’s introduction and notes are an invaluable guide to these classic works. Justification and Regeneration is both milk and solid food for the Christian–an incisive study of the converted person’s standing before God, along with a pastoral exploration of the power of that conversion.
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.
J. Gresham Machen Professor of Systematic Theology and Apologetics, Westminster Seminary California
Michael A.G. Haykin
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. . .
Professor of Church History and Biblical Spirituality; Director, Andrew Fuller Center for Baptist Studies, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
Peter A. Lillback
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.
President, Professor of Historical Theology and Church History, Westminster Theological Seminary