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A Change of Heart: Understanding Regeneration and Why it Matters (Nelson)

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Free Grace Press

"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 salutes, 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 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. 


Allen S. Nelson IV is the pastor of Perryville Second Baptist Church in Perryville, AR, where he resides with his wife Stephanie, and their 5 children. He holds a Master of Divinity from Grace Bible Theological Seminary in Conway, AR. He is also the author of From Death to Life: How Salvation Works and Before the Throne: Reflections on God's Holiness.  


When Jesus told Nicodemus, “You must be born again,” He revealed that the only way anyone could enter or even see the kingdom of God is as a result of a work of God’s Spirit in the heart of a person that is so powerful, so life altering, that it is analogous to physical birth. Just as there is no physical life without physical birth, so there is no spiritual life without spiritual birth. Allen Nelson understands this and helps his readers understand both the nature and importance of this supernatural work of God that takes place inside a person. In the process, Nelson pastorally guides readers over biblical, historical, and theological terrain to help clear up confusion and provide helpful instruction on this vitally important subject. The result is a wonderfully accessible book on a vitally important topic. —Tom Ascol, Pastor, Grace Baptist Church, Cape Coral, FL; President of Founders Ministries, President of The Institute of Public Theology

Regeneration is one of the most despised doctrines found within the church. Anyone frequenting 'theological' social media will at some point encounter articles, blog posts, and personal comments that spew vile curses at the truth of God sovereignly igniting the dead heart of a sinner and imparting saving faith that transforms the treasonous God-hater into a love of Christ. Men gnash their teeth at regeneration because it strips them of any participation in their salvation, placing that divine work fully into the hands of God alone. In his book, A Change of Heart, Pastor Allen Nelson leads a lay-friendly journey into the doctrine of regeneration. He provides key exegetical study, demonstrates the practical outworking of regeneration in the Christian's daily walk with Christ, and shows how this vital doctrine shaped the thinking of believers throughout church history. I hope his helpful work finds a wide reading among the faithful who desire to think rightly upon this most glorious doctrine. —Fred Butler; Volunteer Coordinator at John MacArthur's Grace To You, Media Ministry

If you were to view the empty churches, the vapid worship, and the neutered preaching of the modern American church as the smoldering wreckage of a plane crash, no doubt you would want to find in the rubble the black box in order to find out what went wrong. Looking back in the black box of our church history, you will find one of the central causes of this crash was the abandonment of the doctrine taught in this book. The wings were ripped off. What causes Christianity to soar was removed, and our churches joined the flotsam and jetsam of every other worldview. We need the truth that is found in this book. Allen Nelson elucidates the doctrine of regeneration in these pages with precision and passion. Read this book, believe the truths that are found in it, and, for the love of God and His church, preach the beauties, wonders, and implications of the new birth! —Wes Brown; Pastor, Plumerville First Baptist Church, Plumerville, AR

Allen Nelson has done it again. Through careful exposition, sound logic, along with the support of great theologians past and present, he has put a spotlight on the doctrine of regeneration. This book will help you understand why so many people claim to be Christians but so very few actually look like Christians. Allen explains how the doctrine of regeneration has been neglected, why this teaching needs to be recovered, and most importantly, how to tell whether you have experienced “a change of heart.” —Harold Smith; Baptist Missionary, Lee Creek Baptist Church, Van Buren, AR