Maybe one of the reasons that modern Southern Baptists are so willing to jettison (at least practically) our historical conviction of a regenerate church membership is because we have grown soft on the whole idea of regeneration. One of the realities that we must face is that we can no longer assume that people in our churches understand what we mean by “salvation.” That is even more of a concern when we start talking about the constituent elements of biblical salvation (like justification, sanctification or regeneration).

For that reason, I call your attention to an article I wrote some time ago on this subject.


When Jimmy Carter became President of the United States in 1976 I remember my Political Science professor at Texas A&M University talking about the confusion which his colleagues from the North were experiencing. Several of them called him on the phone to get help in understanding what the phrase, “born again,” meant.

From the outset of his campaign Carter made it very clear that he was not ashamed to be known as a “born-again Christian.” At that time this was a new thought to a lot of people in our land because they had not weighed or considered Christianity in terms of the idea of a new birth. Reporters and political analysts wanted to know what the language meant and what Mr. Carter was actually saying. (read more)

Tom Ascol has served as a Pastor of Grace Baptist Church in Cape Coral, FL since 1986. Prior to moving to Florida he served as pastor and associate pastor of churches in Texas. He has a BS degree in sociology from Texas A&M University (1979) and has also earned the MDiv and PhD degrees from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Ft. Worth, Texas. He has served as an adjunct professor of theology for various colleges and seminaries, including Reformed Theological Seminary, the Covenant Baptist Theological Seminary, African Christian University, Copperbelt Ministerial College, and Reformed Baptist Seminary. He has also served as Visiting Professor at the Nicole Institute for Baptist Studies at Reformed Theological Seminary in Orlando, Florida. Tom serves as the President of Founders Ministries and The Institute of Public Theology. He has edited the Founders Journal, a quarterly theological publication of Founders Ministries, and has written hundreds of articles for various journals and magazines. He has been a regular contributor to TableTalk, the monthly magazine of Ligonier Ministries. He has also edited and contributed to several books, including Dear Timothy: Letters on Pastoral Ministry, The Truth and Grace Memory Books for children and  Recovering the Gospel and Reformation of Churches. He is also the author of From the Protestant Reformation to the Southern Baptist ConventionTraditional Theology and the SBC and Strong and Courageous. Tom regularly preaches and lectures at various conferences throughout the United States and other countries. In addition he regularly contributes articles to the Founders website and hosts a weekly podcast called The Sword & The Trowel. He and his wife Donna have six children along with four sons-in-law and a daughter-in-law. They have sixteen grandchildren.
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