WILLIAM R. NEWELL, (1868-1956) pastor, teacher, Bible expositor
Wm. Newell is best remembered for his outstanding exposition of Paul's letter to Rome--Romans, Verse by Verse. This commentary should be on the shelf of every Christian who desires to understand the New Testament and particularly the writings of the Apostle Paul.
Newell was not a philosopher and thus was unable to articulate biblical compatibilism. However, as a keen dispensational Bible expositor, he clearly understood and preached the sovereignty of God and human volition, while standing against the falsehood of free will. Most wonderfully, brother Newell understood the place of God's MERCY in our salvation. The following are a few brief excerpts from his commentary on Romans.
"God's mercy is the sovereign going forth of His heart to us sinful wretched creatures; His grace follows, in His pardoning our guilt; and His loving-kindness is His proceeding with us in abundant goodness thereafter.
"Man thinks he can 'will' and 'decide,' God-ward, and that after he has so 'decided' and 'willed,' he has the ability to 'run,' or, as he says, to 'hold out.' But these two things, deciding and holding out, are in this verse [Romans 9:16] utterly rejected as the source of salvation,--which is declared to be God that hath MERCY. Human responsibility is not at all denied here: man ought to will, and ought to run. But we are all nothing but sinners, and can do,--will do, neither: unless God comes forth to us in sovereign mercy.
"It is a humanly incurable delusion of the human heart that salvation is within the natural reach; and that at any time if a man will 'make up his mind like a man,' and 'hold out to the end,' God will certainly accept him. But this conception leaves out entirely the word 'mercy.' The very name of this plan is Vain Confidence. It has doomed and damned its millions. For, salvation being altogether of God, the soul who is hugging the delusion that it is 'of him that wills,' 'of him the runs,' is making God a liar and walking in blind pride."
Romans, Verse by Verse: Chapter Nine
Born: May 22, 1868, Savannah Ohio. Died: April 1, 1956, DeLand, Florida. Newell graduated from Wooster College, Ohio, in 1891, then attended Princeton and Oberlin Seminaries. After ordination, he became pastor of Bethesda Congregational Church in Chicago, Illinois. In 1895, he became assistant superintendent of the Moody Bible Institute in Chicago.
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