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What Are Born Again Christians?

Discussion in 'Questions by Non-Christians (Archived)' started by karla, Jun 25, 2003.

  1. karla

    karla Love God, Serve God

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    Maybe this is a stupid question, but what does it mean to be a born again christian? How does that differ from Catholicism, Protestianism, etc.?
     
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  2. Sean524

    Sean524 New Member

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    It's not a stupid question at all. I'm more than happy to try and help you. The phrase "born again Christian" doesn't really refer to a type of Christian group, meaning you probably wouldn't say to someone, "are you protestant, catholic, or born again?"

    The phrase "born again" Christian refers to this principle:

    In our natural state as human beings, we are spiritually dead and eternally doomed to Hell because of our sin. Jesus paid the punishment for those sins and redeemed us so that we are not doomed and spiritually dead anymore - so we can get to Heaven. He made us alive, as a free gift.

    When we give our lives to Jesus, we basically die within ourselves, we die to our own sinful lives, and we actually live IN Him, and He lives in us. His life becomes ours. He gives us His life so WE can live too.

    We basically "kill" our sins, and die with Christ in His death on the cross, and then He raises us up together with Himself in His Resurrection. That is what being "born again" means. We are no longer spiritually dead forever. We are given new life in Christ.

    We are born from our mothers PHYSICALLY the first time around, but are "dead" spiritually because of our natural human state of sinfulness. Christ allows us to be born "again" SPIRITUALLY this time, and have new, eternal spiritual life with Him.

    As Christians, we are all born again.

    We are "new creations" in Christ as the Bible tells us, or maybe it says "new creatures" I'm not sure. I'll try to find the verse here in a second. If you have any more questions, feel free to ask away.

    God bless you
    God REALLY loves you :)
     
  3. Sean524

    Sean524 New Member

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    OK, here it is, 2 Corinthians 5:17-21.

    "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men's sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliatin. We are therefore Christ's ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ's behalf: Be reconciled to God. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God."
     
  4. karla

    karla Love God, Serve God

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    Thanks for the explanation...it was great. I feel like I have a better understanding. Another question - I am Catholic, was baptized as an infant, confirmed in my early 20's - is there a difference between that and the term "born again"? I understand that all Christians are born again (thanks for explaining that because I had no idea), but does the term "born again" usually refer to adults who at some point in their lives just accept Christ in their lives. I guess it is just that I have never heard anyone who is Catholic refer to themselves as "born again".
     
  5. Oblio

    Oblio Creed or Chaos

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    The Orthodox Christian view is more that He paid the consequenses for fallen humanity, descended into Hades to defeat death so that we man all live through the power of His Resurrection.

    No. But there is much more to being a Christian than being Baptised and Confimed (Chrismated).

    Protestants do, but the majority of the Christians in this world do not.
     
  6. papakapp

    papakapp a waterdrop going over niagra falls

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    A man in the bible named Nicodemus went to Jesus one time and asked Jesus "What must I do to inherit eternal life?" Now, Nicodemus was a very pious and religous man. He was a pharisee and even the common people thought the pharisees were the most spiritual guys around. But anyway, even though everybody else may have thought he was very spiritual, he still snuck over to Jesus in the middle of the night to ask Jesus how to get eternal life. (He went at night because he had a reputation for being more spiritual that other people. he did not want to be seen asking questions, he was supposed to have it all figured out, so he snuck over there at night.) Anyway, Jesus told him "You must be born again." Nick was like "What? you mean I have to go back into my moms womb?" Jesus was like "No, you were already born of flesh. right now you are a prisoner of your flesh. Now you gotta be born of the spirit, then you will be a bondservant of God."
    So, every person alive is a prisoner to their flesh, that means they are a prisoner to pride, lust, greed, debauchery-whatever our flesh desires to please only our flesh is generally sin, and we are slaves to that. Basically a Born again Christian is a person who has gotten sick of being a prisoner of sin, and realised that we can't escape being a slave to our flesh because all we have in ourselves is flesh. They then give up trying to be good on their own (because it doesn't work) and let God have controll of their lives. This is a choice to be born of the Spirit. Choosing to be born of the spirit is what we call 'born again'.
    Not all people who call themselves Christian call themselves Born Again Christian. I don't know what they think when they read in the gospels that Jesus told Nick that he had to be born again to inherit eternal life.

    Last thing, being born of the spirit is more than lip service. It is also a willing choice to stop serving flesh, and to start serving God. To be more than lip service, action is required. Obviously, Born Again Christians still screw up. We still are made of flesh, but if the Spirit is really in us, He will refine away flesh in us throughout the coursae of our whole lives.
     
  7. karla

    karla Love God, Serve God

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    Isn't that what all Christians should already be doing? I mean, I know that there are some that call themselves Christians that don't "practice what they preach", so to speak. I know that for myself, I try to live my life as Christ wants me to and guides me to. I pray constantly for his guidance throughout the day and in all aspects of my life. I guess what I am trying to say is how can you "born again" either you are a true Christian or you are not. Is that safe to say or am I way off base?
     
  8. papakapp

    papakapp a waterdrop going over niagra falls

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    No, you are right on. The title I apply to myself is Christian. I only say I am "Born Again" when I am specifically trying to impress on somone the difference between post-modern-I-like-the-love-of-God-but-not-the-justice-of-God-christians, and people who try to take all of the Bible at face value as the inspired word of God, and listen to all of the Bible wether it is easy to swollow or not.

    So, I think the answer you seek might be this: While it's true that all true Christians are Born Again, Being born again does not refer to an emphasis on a certain theology. It meerly is a slightly more discriptive term which separates post-modern-I-like-the-love-of-God-but-not-the-justice-of-God-Christians from true Christians.

    [Edit]

    AH!
    Heres one more possibility (I'm just throwing stuff out there, hoping to get lucky and maybe say something that makes sense.)
    70% of Americans call themselves Christian. 10% of that number read their Bible at least monthly. The rest do not read their Bible even that often. The more dedicated a person is to Christ, maybe the more likely they are to use the term born again so that they will separate themselves from the herd.

    Last thing, If somone says "You gotta be born again to be a Christian", they're right (At least Jesus said it, too.) But, if they don't explain what that is right then and there then it was kind of pointless to say it in the first place. A person is likely to walk away confused and thinking that 'born again' is a whole other type of Christian all together.
    [/edit]
     
  9. karla

    karla Love God, Serve God

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    Thank you. It makes much more sense to me now.
     
  10. Benedicta00

    Benedicta00 Well-Known Member

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    Karla,

    If you are baptized, you are born again. That is what Catholics believe it to be, baptism.
     
  11. Sean524

    Sean524 New Member

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    yes, Karla, you are pretty much right on, so is papakapp. "Born again" doesn't refer to a certain type of theology as much as it does a REAL spiritual event. If we are true Christians, we are going to be spiritually born again, in the ACTUAL sense of the words... whether or not we say it or think about it really isn't as important, in my opinion.

    A comment on what Shelb5 said: there is a little bit of controversy between denominations over exactly what baptism is and what it does, but regardless of what exactly we believe about it, I do agree that it is essentially a physical representation of the spiritual act of being born again in Christ. I'm not saying the typical line of "outward sign of an inward faith" that many protestants believe about baptism. Whether we believe baptism is part of being saved, or is just symbolic . . . baptism basically does show (to some extent), and in a visible/tangible way, what being born again means (i.e., participation in and connection to the death, burial, and Resurrection of Christ).

    A comment on the first thing Oblio said in response to my post: I think what I said and what Oblio said were different words to explain essentially the same thing. I agree that Jesus paid the consequences for fallen humanity, that He defeated death, and that He allowed us to live, through the power of His Resurrection. Different groups will debate whether or not He actually descended into Hades, but I don't really think it's that important to know HOW He did it (at least as far as THAT goes), as long as we understand WHAT He did for us. I think we can definitely agree on that. Just another thought that I think is important for us to keep in the back of our minds (something I heard a minister say): It's overwhelming for me to think that we would have to stand before God and have everything right.

    I'm not saying we shouldn't seek Him and seek to know Him more intimately, but ultimately, the Good News of Grace through Jesus Christ is all we need to understand, at least for now. Theology won't save us, but it can help us in our lives. And, of course, there are SOME theological ideas out there that are really off the wall and definitely wrong, but I'm simply saying the really petty theological points aren't that important.

    Sorry, I got off on a bit of a tangent there. If I sounded like I was arguing with the people I just commented on, I apologize. I was simply trying to put some more ideas out there and do just that - comment.

    Anyway, Karla, you sound like a good, born again Christian to me. If you are really in Christ, and it appears you ARE, then you ARE ACTUALLY born again, whether you choose to use the term or not. :)

    If you want, I would really encourage you to be baptized again, now that you know what it's really about. I'm not going to say you have to, but I've called myself a Christian all my life, but I only got serious about it during the last approx. 2 years, and I was baptized just this past March. And let me tell you, it was a GREAT experience. I felt so good afterwards. It's just a really cool, personal thing between you and God where you can connect with what He did for you.

    I guess I should explain a little bit of my background. I grew up as a child in a Church of Christ, one of the few Protestant denominations (although they probably wouldn't claim to be "Protestant," they would say they are just plain Christian, but their theology is essentially protestant-like) that believes baptism is NECESSARY for salvation. I left the church probably around age 5, 6, or 7 . . . and went off and on for the next few years to a Methodist Church.

    Now, I've started going back to a Church of Christ since I got more serious about my faith, but I'm not really sure what I believe about baptism now. I'm just continuing praying and trying to find truth, but since I always had that Church of Christ attitude about baptism uniquely in the back of my mind (unlike most American protestants) I felt a lot more secure and comfortable AFTER I had been baptized. It was pretty important to me.

    So, I'm just telling you that once you get serious about your faith, and really understand what baptism means, it's an AWESOME thing to do. You'll have to decide for yourself what you believe about it, but I do think that if someone were to claim to be a Christian and actually steadfastly REFUSE baptism, some might doubt their conversion. It's definitely a very Biblical practice, regardless of denomination.

    So keep up the good work. God bless you, He loves you . . . A LOT.
     
  12. PhiSigAmy

    PhiSigAmy New Member

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    Its kinda off topic, but I just wanted to jump in here to share something.

    My family never went to church and I was never really exposed to it. My parents never had me baptized as a baby. When I met my ex boyfriend, who's father was a Presbyterian pastor, I began to go to church with him. I loved learning about it all, and in a few months I decided that I was ready to join the church. I explained to my pastor/ex-boyfriend's father that I wanted to become a member of the church and he had noticed how much I wa growing in it all. On Nov. 25, 2001, I stood up before my congregation and was baptized by someone whom I loved as much as my own father. I also stood with two other girls my age and we all affirmed our faith in front of the congregation. It was one of the best days of my life. My pastor had asked me to explain to the congregation how I came to know Christ and how I had come to that point in my life. By the time I was done speaking, there was not a dry eye in the place - including mine! I was so lucky to have been able to experiance that.

    I had noticed that Sean524 told Karla that she may want to be baptized again, and I just thought that I would share my experiance of what it was like to be baptized as an adult.

    Amy

     
  13. Sean524

    Sean524 New Member

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    yes, that's awesome, Amy. I agree. It was one of the best days of my life too.
     
  14. starbucksman

    starbucksman New Member

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  15. karla

    karla Love God, Serve God

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    I would like to thank everyone for all the info. and for sharing with me their expereinces. They are all very touching. As a Catholic, I know that I do not need to be rebaptized and it is also against Canon Law. For me, there is one baptism for the forgiveness of sins and I received that as an infant. Although that was a choice that my parents made for me, it is a choice that I uphold and live daily by receiving the most Holy Sacrament, the Eucharist. I reaffirm my faith daily by this. I appreciate all you points of view and for your encouragement for me to remain close to God. It has been a great learning experience for me.

    God Bless,
    Karla
     
  16. A Brethren IN CHRIST

    A Brethren IN CHRIST Well-Known Member

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    Galations 5:16 This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh

    Howby the Spirit ? eph 2:1-9 colossians 3:3:1-3

    By the Flesh? Galations 4:29 But as then he that is born after the flesh persecuted him that was born after the Spirit, even so it is now
     
  17. Theresa

    Theresa With Reason

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    To be more technical, when you are born as a descendant of Adam and Eve, you are born in original sin, hence, without sanctifying grace. Christ came to make it available to us.

    So then, when Christ was baptised, John poured the water on his head, and the Spirit in the form of a dove, came down and rested on him. Then, shortly after, Christ tells Nicodemus that to be born of water and Spirit. Shortly thereafter, they went out and baptised. If you read too, Acts, you will find baptism after baptism after baptism.

    So then, we cannot go back into our wombs and be re-created with sanctifying grace, for we were created without it. So then, to be born again, is to baptised by water, also symbolic of the Christ who has life-giving water, and by the Spirit. So us too, when we are baptised in the name of the Trinity, die with him, and are reborn with sanctifying grace.

    The problem arises, however, that you can lose sanctifying grace by mortal sin. That is what confession and the Eucharist is for.
     
  18. Reformationist

    Reformationist Non nobis domine sed tuo nomine da gloriam

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    LOL! It's funny because I am reading a book that addresses that term and the fact that Jimmy Carter said, when he became president, that he was a "born again Christian." The funny thing is that phrase is redundant. There's no such thing as a "non born again Christian" or a "born again non Christian."

    Anyway, someone who has been born again is just a phrase used to describe someone who has had a conversion experience and is a Christian. There is no denominational undertone to the phrase because, regardless of whether someone is Catholic or Protestant, if they are a believer in God then they are "born again."

    God bless,
    Don
     
  19. 12volt_man

    12volt_man Well-Known Member

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    I've always wondered about this, myself. When I hear people use the phrase, "born again Christian", I always silently think, "as opposed to what other kind of Christian"?
     
  20. happyinhisgrace

    happyinhisgrace Blessed Trinity

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    Exactly! One can't be a Christian unless they are born-again of the Holy Spirit.
     
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