Spiritual Birthline (Understanding How We Experience the New Birth)
by Glen H. Jones
The title suggests the contents of the book. Smallman believes that the new birth is a process rather than an instantaneous experience. He has developed a diagram he calls the birthline. Spiritual birth, he says, is analogous to physical birth and follows the same general pattern. In the spiritual birthline, conception occurs when the Holy Spirit begins to move upon a person's spiritual life. This "conception" may come through a person's contact with the spoken or written gospel. It may begin as an interest in spiritual things. As in pregnancy, outward signs may not be evident for a long time. The individual may not understand the implications of the Holy Spirit's inward working. However, there comes a time when the individual realizes his need of salvation and responds in repentance and faith to the Spirit's call. We call that conversion or the new birth. Salvation does not end here. As a newborn child either grows or dies, so the new believer grows spiritually by Bible reading, prayer, assembling with other believers, and responding to the Spirit's leadership. It is vital for a new convert to Christ to connect with other believers in order to assimilate the truths he has experienced. The author further explains each of the steps involved in the spiritual birthline: introduction to spiritual truth, growth in understanding the need to receive Christ, actual conversion, and growth in the Christian life.