Tullian Talks Regeneration

Tullian Talks Regeneration

Do you know the exact moment you were saved? Saul of Tarsus did. As did the great Augustine. Many in church history have testified to dramatic, unmistakable experiences of the new birth, when God touched their dead hearts and gave them new spiritual life by his Holy Spirit.

But this is not the experience of most. Count Tullian Tchividjian among us.

Tullian is the pastor of Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. He grew up in a Christian home — his grandfather is Billy Graham — yet he rebelled defiantly for a season, and was born again in God’s good timing, with dramatic change in his life trajectory. But even the effects of his regeneration being as radical as they are, Tullian is not able to point to the one specific moment in time when God gave him new spiritual life. And he doesn’t need to.

Whether you had an unmistakable experience of the new birth, or whether it was more gradual and you can only point to a season or span of time in which God was working to bring you to life — either way, you’re in good company.

Tullian does make it clear, however, that there must have been a specific moment when God decisively gave him new life. That’s how God works by his Spirit in the new birth. But he doesn’t always, or perhaps even typically, give us the conscious experience of that precise moment, even as he does bring us from death to life at a particular point. God is more interested in our ongoing trust in Jesus than our ability to remember exactly when we first trusted him.

In this new episode of Theology Refresh, Tullian discusses the doctrine of regeneration, or the new birth, which is, first and foremost, something God does, whatever our experience of it. And over time, the new birth has unmistakable effects on a life. Says Tullian, “You begin to love the things God loves and hate the things God hates. You begin to run away from the things you ran toward and run toward the things you once ran from.”

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David Mathis (@davidcmathis) is executive editor at desiringGod.org and an elder at Bethlehem Baptist Church, Minneapolis. He has edited several books, including Thinking. Loving. Doing., Finish the Mission, and Acting the Miracle, and is co-author of How to Stay Christian in Seminary.