"Thou hast given a banner to them that fear thee, that it may be displayed because of truth." — (Psalm 60:4)
"Lift ye up a banner upon the high mountain, exalt the voice unto them." — (Isaiah 13:2)
Devoted To The Defense Of The Church Against All Errors And Innovations
Vol.VI No.XII Pg.10a
July 1944

"By Nature The Children Of Wrath"

T. B. Wilkinson

"By nature the children of wrath even as others." (Eph. 8:3.) The Baptists say this means baby nature, that is, we are born children of wrath. We are all children of wrath by generation, they say, because of Adam's sin.

To be saved we must be regenerated, they say, and I can agree with them on this point. But what does the word "regenerate" mean? There is just one thing that it can mean; it brings us back to the line of generation. To generate, says Webster, is to procreate, propagate, to produce a creature similar to its parents. In the word "regenerate" we have the prefix re, which simply means again; therefore, the word means to create again, or be born again, as the Lord said to Nicodemus, who wanted to enter the kingdom on his old birth.

But the prefix re implies a previous degeneration, and it merely undoes the effects of degeneration. The prefix de takes man below the line of generation, and the prefix re brings him back to it, and leaves him at the line of generation. Now he is generated a child of wrath, according to the Baptists, and he is totally depraved, they say, and not capable of even a good thought. That is how he is when he is born--he is a child of the devil, and as bad as the devil himself, for the devil can be no more than totally depraved.

Now, he must be even worse than the devil when he degenerates, for he was as bad as the devil when he was generated. He must, therefore, be worse than totally depraved when he degenerates. But now the Spirit comes, say the Baptists, and regenerates this child of the devil. Regeneration only undoes the degeneration, and brings the man back to the line of generation, and leaves him there. This is the force of the three words, and they cannot do more than this. Generation produces a creature like its parents, degeneration takes him below the line of generation, and regeneration brings him back to it.

Then, what have we according to the Baptist doctrine? The child is generated, or born, totally depraved, as bad as the devil. He degenerates and gets worse than the devil, worse than totally depraved. He is regenerated, and brought back to the line of generation, back to total depravity, and made as good as the devil, and then the Baptists vote on him and take him into their church, in full fellowship with all other members.

According to Baptist doctrine every member of their own church is totally depraved, as bad as the devil, which would make the Baptist Church nothing but an association of devils. If they don't believe that, then they don't believe their own doctrine, and should quit preaching such foolish things.

To illustrate this argument draw a straight line on the blackboard. This is the line of generation; the child was like this when he was born, and they say he was totally depraved, and a child of the devil when he was born. Now he degenerates, for without degeneration we can have no regeneration. The line of degeneration descends below the line of generation, like this line. Now regeneration takes hold of him at this point and leads up to the line of generation, but it cannot take him above it, for then he would be above generation. And this is where the Baptists say he is saved, at the end of regeneration, still totally depraved, a child of wrath, and as bad as the devil.

But what does the Bible teach on this point? Jesus said of little children, "Of such is the kingdom of heaven," and again He said that we must "be converted and become as a little child" to enter the kingdom of heaven. If we can learn, what kind of folks are in the kingdom of heaven we can know what state the little child is in when it is born, or generated. Those in the kingdom have been washed and cleansed from all sin by the blood of Christ, says Paul. Then the child when born, or generated, is not a child of wrath.

But later this child grows up, and falls into sin, then it degenerates, and becomes a child of wrath, but I would not say it is even now totally depraved. I leave that for the Baptists to say, but it is a sinner, and under just condemnation. Now he is regenerated, and brought back to this line of generation, which makes him like the little child, and fit for the kingdom through the blood of Christ. That is how my Bible teaches it, and I am glad it does.

The word "nature" as used by Paul in the passage does not mean nature by birth, but nature by practice. It was the practice of sin that made them children of wrath, and not a birth over which they had no control. Nature teaches us that it is a shame for a woman to shingle her hair, Paul said, and nature teaches that it is a shame for a man to wear long hair like a woman, but not baby nature, like the Baptists teach.

The little child is like a man who is saved by the blood of Christ, said the Master, and I am glad He did. Now, I know the little child is safe, and just as pure as the blood-bought saint, and not totally depraved like the Baptists teach.