Skip to comments.Are Catholics Born Again? (Discussion is applicable to Orthodox and Mainline Protestants as well)
Posted on 12/31/2008 4:38:01 AM PST by Huber
Are Catholics Born Again? | Mark Brumley | IgnatiusInsight.com
"Have you been born again?" the Fundamentalist at the door asks the unsuspecting Catholic. The question is usually a segue into a vast doctrinal campaign that leads many ill-instructed Catholics out of the Catholic Church. How? By making them think there is a conflict between the Bible and the Catholic Church over being "born again." To be honest, most Catholics probably do not understand the expression "born again."
Yes, they believe in Jesus. And yes, they try to live Christian lives. They probably have some vague awareness that Fundamentalists think being "born again" involves a religious experience or "accepting Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior." Many cradle Catholics, too, have had their moments of closeness to God, even of joy over God's love and mercy. They may even have had "conversion experiences" of sorts, committing themselves to take their faith seriously and to live more faithfully as disciples of Jesus. But the cradle Catholic probably cannot pinpoint any particular moment in his life when he dropped to his knees and "accepted Jesus" for the first time. As far back as he can recall, he has believed, trusted and loved Jesus as Savior and Lord. Does that prove he has never been "born again"?
Not "the Bible way," says the Fundamentalist. But the Fundamentalist is wrong there. He misunderstands what the Bible says about being "born again." Unfortunately, few Catholics understand the biblical use of the term, either. As a result, pastors, deacons, catechists, parents and others responsible for religious education have their work cut out for them. It would be helpful, then, to review the biblical--and Catholic--meaning of the term "born again."
"Born again" The Bible way
The only biblical use of the term "born again" occurs in John 3:3-5--although, as we shall see, similar and related expressions such as "new birth" and "regeneration" occur elsewhere in Scripture (Titus 3:5; 1 Pet 1:3, 23). In John 3:3, Jesus tells Nicodemus, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God." The Greek expression translated "born again" (gennathei anothen) also means "born from above." Jesus, it seems, makes a play on words with Nicodemus, contrasting earthly life, or what theologians would later dub natural life ("what is born of flesh"), with the new life of heaven, or what they would later call supernatural life ("what is born of Spirit").
Nicodemus' reply: "How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother's womb and be born?" (John 3:4). Does he simply mistake Jesus to be speaking literally or is Nicodemus himself answering figuratively, meaning, "How can an old man learn new ways as if he were a child again?" We cannot say for sure, but in any case Jesus answers, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, `You must be born again."' (John 3:5-7).
Here Jesus equates "born again" or "born from above" with "born of water and the Spirit." If, as the Catholic Church has always held, being "born of water and the Spirit" refers to baptism, then it follows that being "born again" or "born from above" means being baptized.
Clearly, the context implies that born of "water and the Spirit" refers to baptism. The Evangelist tells us that immediately after talking with Nicodemus, Jesus took his disciples into the wilderness where they baptized people (John 3:22). Furthermore, water is closely linked to the Spirit throughout John's Gospel (for instance, in Jesus' encounter with the Samaritan woman at the well in John 4:9-13) and in the Johannine tradition (cf. 1 John 5:7). It seems reasonable, then, to conclude that John the Evangelist understands Jesus' words about being "born again" and "born of water and the Spirit" to have a sacramental, baptismal meaning.
Other views of "born of water and the spirit"
Fundamentalists who reject baptismal regeneration usually deny that "born of water and the Spirit" in John 3:5 refers to baptism. Some argue that "water" refers to the "water of childbirth." On this view, Jesus means that unless one is born of water (at his physical birth) and again of the Spirit (in a spiritual birth), he cannot enter the kingdom of God.
A major problem with this argument, however, is that while Jesus does contrast physical and spiritual life, he clearly uses the term "flesh" for the former, in contrast to "Spirit" for the latter. Jesus might say, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of flesh and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God"--though it would be obvious and absurdly redundant to say that one must be born (i.e., born of flesh) in order to be born again (i.e., born of the Spirit). But using "born of water and the Spirit" to mean "born of the flesh and then of the Spirit" would only confuse things by introducing the term "water" from out of nowhere, without any obvious link to the term "flesh." Moreover, while the flesh is clearly opposed to the Spirit and the Spirit clearly opposed to the flesh in this passage, the expression "born of water and the Spirit" implies no such opposition. It is not "water" vs. "the Spirit," but "water and the Spirit."
Furthermore, the Greek of the text suggests that "born of water and the Spirit" (literally "born of water and spirit") refers to a single, supernatural birth over against natural birth ("born of the flesh"). The phrase "of water and the Spirit" (Greek, ek hudatos kai pneumatos) is a single linguistical unit. It refers to being "born of water and the Spirit," not "born of water" on the one hand and "born of the Spirit" on the other.
Another argument used by opponents of baptismal regeneration: "born of water and the Spirit" refers, correspondingly, to the baptism of John (being "born of water") and the baptism of the Spirit (being "born of ... the Spirit"), which John promised the coming Messiah would effect. Thus, on this view, Jesus says, "Unless a man is born of water through John's baptism and of the Spirit through my baptism, he cannot enter the Kingdom of God."
We have already seen that, according to the Greek, "born of water and the Spirit" refers to a single thing, a single spiritual birth. Thus, the first half of the phrase cannot apply to one thing (John's baptism) and the second half to something else entirely (Jesus' baptism). But even apart from the linguistical argument, if "born of water" refers to John's baptism, then Jesus is saying that in order to be "born again" or "born from above" one must receive John's baptism of water ("born of water ...") and the Messiah's baptism of the Spirit (". . . and Spirit"). That would mean only those who have been baptized by John could enter the kingdom of God--which would drastically reduce the population of heaven. In fact, no one holds that people must receive John's baptism in order to enter the Kingdom--something now impossible. Therefore being "born of water . . ." cannot refer to John's baptism.
The most reasonable explanation for "born of water and the Spirit," then, is that it refers to baptism. This is reinforced by many New Testament texts linking baptism, the Holy Spirit and regeneration. At Jesus' baptism, the Holy Spirit descends upon him as He comes up out of the water (cf. John 1:25-34; Matt 3:13-17; Mark 1:9-11; Luke 3:21-22). Furthermore, what distinguishes John's baptism of repentance in anticipation of the Messiah from Christian baptism, is that the latter is a baptism with the Holy Spirit (Matt 3:11; Mark 1:8; Luke 3:16; John 1:31; Acts 1:4-5).
Consequently, on Pentecost, Peter calls the Jews to "be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins" and promises that they will "receive the gift of the Holy Spirit" (Acts 2:38), thus fulfilling the promise of John. Peter clearly teaches here that the "water baptism," to which he directs the soon-to-be converts, forgives sins and bestows the Holy Spirit. Christian baptism, then, is no mere external, repentance-ritual with water, but entails an inner transformation or regeneration by the Holy Spirit of the New Covenant; it is a "new birth," a being "born again" or "born from above."
In Romans 6:3, Paul says, "Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life" (RNAB). Baptism, says Paul, effects union with the death and resurrection of Christ, so that through it we die and rise to new life, a form of "regeneration."
According to Titus 3:5, God "saved us through the washing of regeneration (paliggenesias) and renewal by the Holy Spirit." Opponents of baptismal regeneration argue that the text refers only to the "washing (loutrou) of regeneration" rather than the "baptism of regeneration." But baptism is certainly a form of washing and elsewhere in the New Testament it is described as a "washing away of sin." For example, in Acts 22:16, Ananias tells Paul, "Get up, be baptized and wash your sins away, calling upon his name." The Greek word used for the "washing away of sins" in baptism here is apolousai, essentially the same term used in Titus 3:5. Furthermore, since "washing" and "regeneration" are not ordinarily related terms, a specific kind of washing--one that regenerates--must be in view. The most obvious kind of washing which the reader would understand would be baptism, a point even many Baptist scholars, such as G.R. Beasley-Murray, admit. (See his book Baptism in the New Testament.)
In 1 Peter 1:3, it is stated that God has given Christians "a new birth to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead." The term "new birth" (Gk, anagennasas, "having regenerated") appears synonymous with "born again" or "regeneration." According to 1 Peter 1:23, Christians "have been born anew (Gk, anagegennamenoi, "having been regenerated") not from perishable but from imperishable seed, through the living and abiding word of God." From the word of the Gospel, in other words.
Opponents of baptismal regeneration argue that since the "new birth" mentioned in 1 Peter 1:3 and 23 is said to come about through the Word of God, being "born again" means accepting the Gospel message, not being baptized. This argument overlooks the fact that elsewhere in the New Testament accepting the gospel message and being baptized are seen as two parts of the one act of commitment to Christ.
In Mark 16:16, for instance, Jesus says, "Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved; whoever does not believe will be condemned." "Believing", i.e., accepting the Gospel, entails accepting baptism, which is the means by which one "puts on Christ" (Gal. 3:27) and is buried and raised with him to new life (Rom 6:3-5; Gal 2:12). Acts 2:41 says of the Jewish crowd on Pentecost, "Those who accepted his message were baptized . . ." It seems reasonable to conclude that those whom 1 Peter 1:23 describes as "having been born anew" or regenerated through the "living and abiding word of God" were also those who had been baptized. Thus, being "born of water and the Spirit" and being "born anew" through "the living and abiding word of God" describe different aspects of one thing--being regenerated in Christ. Being "born again" (or "from above") in "water and the Spirit" refers to the external act of receiving baptism, while being "born anew" refers to the internal reception in faith of the Gospel (being "born anew" through "the living and abiding word of God").
Moreover, baptism involves a proclamation of the Word, which is part of what constitutes it (i.e., "I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit"). To accept baptism is to accept the Word of God. There is no need, then, to see the operation of the Word of God in regeneration as something opposed to or separated from baptism.
Some Fundamentalists also object that being "born again" through baptismal regeneration contradicts the Pauline doctrine of justification by grace through faith. Implicit here is the idea that Christian baptism is a mere "human work" done to earn favor before God. In fact, Christian baptism is something that is done to one (one is baptized--passive), not something one does for oneself. The one who baptizes, according to the Bible, is Jesus Himself by the power of the Holy Spirit (cf. Jn 1:33). It makes no more sense to oppose baptism and faith in Christ to one another as means of regeneration than it does to oppose faith in Christ and the work of the Holy Spirit to one another. There is no either/or here; it is both/and.
The Catholic view of being "born again"
Following the New Testament use of the term, the Catholic Church links regeneration or being "born again" in the life of the Spirit to the sacrament of baptism (CCC, nos. 1215,1265-1266). Baptism is not a mere human "work" one does to "earn" regeneration and divine sonship; it is the work of Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit, which, by grace, washes away sin and makes us children of God. It is central to the Catholic understanding of justification by grace. For justification is, as the Council of Trent taught, "a translation from that state in which man is born a child of the first Adam, to the state of grace and of the adoption of the sons of God through the second Adam, Jesus Christ" (Session 6, chapter 4). Baptism is an instrumental means by which God graciously justifies--that is, regenerates--sinners through faith in Jesus Christ and makes them children of God.
Catholic teaching is not opposed to a "religious experience" of conversion accompanying baptism (of adults)--far from it. But such an "experience" is not required. What is required for baptism to be fruitful (for an adult) is repentance from sin and faith in Christ, of which baptism is the sacrament (CCC, no. 1253). These are grace-enabled acts of the will that are not necessarily accompanied by feelings of being "born again." Regeneration rests on the divinely established fact of incorporation and regeneration in Christ, not on feelings one way or the other.
This point can be driven home to Evangelicals by drawing on a point they often emphasize in a related context. Evangelicals often say that the act of having accepted Christ as "personal Savior and Lord" is the important thing, not whether feelings accompany that act. It is, they say, faith that matters, not feelings. Believe by faith that Christ is the Savior and the appropriate feelings, they say, will eventually follow. But even if they do not, what counts is the fact of having taken Christ as Savior.
Catholics can say something similar regarding baptism. The man who is baptized may not "feel" any different after baptism than before. But once he is baptized, he has received the Holy Spirit in a special way. He has been regenerated and made a child of God through the divine sonship of Jesus Christ in which he shares. He has been buried with Christ and raised to new life with Him. He has objectively and publicly identified himself with Jesus' death and resurrection. If the newly baptized man meditates on these things, he may or may not "feel" them, in the sense of some subjective religious experience. Nevertheless, he will believe them to be true by faith. And he will have the benefits of baptism into Christ nonetheless.
A "born again" Christian?
When Fundamentalists call themselves "born again Christians," they want to stress an experience of having entered into a genuine spiritual relationship with Christ as Savior and Lord, in contradistinction to unbelief or a mere nominal Christianity. As we have seen, though, the term "born again" and its parallel terms "new birth" and "regeneration" are used by Jesus and the New Testament writers to refer to the forgiveness of sins and inner renewal of the Holy Spirit signified and brought about by Christ through baptism.
How, then, should a Catholic answer the question, "Have you been born again?" An accurate answer would be, "Yes, I was born again in baptism." Yet leaving it at that may generate even more confusion. Most Fundamentalists would probably understand the Catholic to mean, "I'm going to heaven simply because I'm baptized." In other words, the Fundamentalist would think the Catholic is "trusting in his baptism" rather than Christ, whereas the informed Catholic knows it means trusting in Christ with whom he is united in baptism.
The Catholic, then, should do more than simply point to his baptism; he should discuss his living faith, trust and love of Christ; his desire to grow in sanctity and conformity to Christ; and his total dependence on Christ for salvation. These are integral to the new life of the Holy Spirit that baptism bestows. When the Fundamentalist sees the link between baptism and the Holy Spirit in the life of his Catholic neighbor, he may begin to see that St. Paul was more than figurative when he wrote, "You were buried with Christ in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the power of God, who raised him from the dead" (Col 2:12).
This article originally appeared in The Catholic Faith (November/December 1999), pages 15-18.
1 Cor 1:17 17 For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel, not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of no effect.
1 Cor 1:14 14 I thank God that I baptized none of you except Crispus and Gaius,
It would appear by these statements that Paul was against salvation since he came not to baptize and was happy that he had not baptize certain people. Why would they canonize the bulk of the New Testament letters to a person who did not equate salvation and baptism together and was happy they had not baptized many?
The context in 1 Cor. 1 is that everyone is baptized in the name of Jesus. The irony is that if they were baptized by St. Paul, then, he rhetorically concludes, they’d think that he, Paul, is the head of the Church.
That Paul sees his role not as a baptizer but as preacher is in keeping with his intellect and temperament; he is not against people getting baptized at all.
"Fundamentalist" is a rather peculiar term. It doesn't apply to a particular denomination, and is somewhat nebulous in its definition, being narrow or overly general depending on the intent of the person invoking it. As an historical Protestant I certainly don't subscribe to the view of being "born again" that is ascribed to "fundamentalists" yet would likely be considered one by most ill-informed Roman Catholics.
To be sure, there is a gross misunderstanding of the Roman Catholic Church among so-called Western Protestants, and that is largely because they are defined as "protestant" more by the fact they are not Roman Catholic than any significant semblance to historical Protestantism and because they haven't the foggiest notion of the actual doctrinal points which separate us.
I do find it ironic that you attribute this phenomenon to some measure of denial though considering the obvious denial involved in constraining this view to North American Protestantism (your definition of "fundamentalism" notwithstanding, of course). The fact is that the Protestant form of Christianity continues to spread throughout the world.
Happy New Year!
Poor analogy. The "man who was directly appointed by the son" was not present when the "johnny-come-lately" came on the scene.
The core issue is what you place your faith in: the Scriptures themselves or the earthly institution that claims to have a monopoly on truth.
Kinda like claiming to have met a vision of the Virgin Mary, not the physical person/being? I guess that invalidates the experience by your criteria, eh?
The Scriptures are clear regarding Saul's encounter with Jesus Christ. You appear to be intent on going to great lengths to undermine any notion of Paul's position as an Apostle simply for the sake of promoting your views at all costs. It's truly unfortunate.
WRONG. Saint Luke, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, stated that Saul was directly spoken to by Jesus Christ Himself. To dispute this fact is to undermine the Scriptural authority and reliability of both the Gospel of Luke and the Acts of the Apostles.
Tell you what...why don't you produce for us some official Roman Catholic teaching stating that Saul never actually met Jesus Christ but rather only claimed to have met a vision of Him.
Acts 2:36-38 36 "Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ." 37 Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, "Men and brethren, what shall we do?" 38 Then Peter said to them, "Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
Peter preached the Holy Spirit brought conviction then Peter said repent be baptized and receive the Holy Spirit.
Without conviction and repentance their can not be the baptism of water and Spirit.
How many do you know followed that prescribed order?
Definitely, baptism is connected to penance. What is your point? We all agree that penance is salvific as well, no?
No...Pennance is not salvific...Repentance is salvific...Pennance is works...Repentance is faith...
No one in the scripture ever got saved with baptism alone...People do however, get saved with Repentance, alone...
Did Christ or did He not choose Peter to be His representative? Did He or did He not state Peter would be the rock upon which His church will be built? Did He or did He not state that which Peter binds on Earth, will also be bound in Heaven?
Let me be kind and refer to Saul, not as a fraud or as a tool of Satan to divide the early church but as a sincere individual who believed he experienced a vision of Jesus. How does Saul differ from Joseph Smith? Perhaps mohammed?
That is the failure of the protestants. They would mock saints, the Virgin Mary and ritual yet accept, willingly and blindly, the gospels of monarchs, disgruntled clergy and executioners. They mock relics and the Rosary but worship the Bible. There is the Church, the appointed heir of Christ, then there is pretend Christianity.
I don't worship the Bible as an object...I worship the Word contained therein because it is the Word of Truth. I don't set it upon an altar and kneel before it. I don't perform solemn rituals in its presence. I certainly don't look for imprints of my Bible in pieces of toast! :)
I have no interest in the "Christianity" you espouse when it involves wanton dismissal of the words of an Apostle just to suit your paradigm. I'm sorry Paul was bold enough to rebuke Peter when he was clearly wrong. Get over it. Cling to Christ, not to Peter.
And that my good correspondent is how we shall leave it.
Enjoy a Blessed New Year.
Thanks. You too.
>And they dont accept the fact that the word alone was added to the Bible in the phrase, faith alone by Luther.
>Look it up.
And then, dear Salvation, look up the other luminaries of the ekklesia that ALSO added the alone.
Here let me help you with your fallacy:
The Roman Catholic writer Joseph A. Fitzmyer points out that Luther was not the only one to translate Romans 3:28 with the word alone.
At 3:28 Luther introduced the adv. only into his translation of Romans (1522), alleyn durch den Glauben (WAusg 7.38); cf. Aus der Bibel 1546, alleine durch den Glauben (WAusg, DB 7.39); also 7.3-27 (Pref. to the Epistle). See further his Sendbrief vom Dolmetschen, of 8 Sept. 1530 (WAusg 30.2 , 627-49; On Translating: An Open Letter [LuthW 35.175-202]). Although alleyn/alleine finds no corresponding adverb in the Greek text, two of the points that Luther made in his defense of the added adverb were that it was demanded by the context and that sola was used in the theological tradition before him.
Robert Bellarmine listed eight earlier authors who used sola (Disputatio de controversiis: De justificatione 1.25 [Naples: G. Giuliano, 1856], 4.501-3):
Origen, Commentarius in Ep. ad Romanos, cap. 3 (PG 14.952).
Hilary, Commentarius in Matthaeum 8:6 (PL 9.961).
Basil, Hom. de humilitate 20.3 (PG 31.529C).
Ambrosiaster, In Ep. ad Romanos 3.24 (CSEL 81.1.119): sola fide justificati sunt dono Dei, through faith alone they have been justified by a gift of God; 4.5 (CSEL 81.1.130).
John Chrysostom, Hom. in Ep. ad Titum 3.3 (PG 62.679 [not in Greek text]).
Cyril of Alexandria, In Joannis Evangelium 10.15.7 (PG 74.368 [but alludes to Jas 2:19]).
Bernard, In Canticum serm. 22.8 (PL 183.881): solam justificatur per fidem, is justified by faith alone.
Theophylact, Expositio in ep. ad Galatas 3.12-13 (PG 124.988).
To these eight Lyonnet added two others (Quaestiones, 114-18):
Theodoret, Affectionum curatio 7 (PG 93.100; ed. J. Raeder [Teubner], 189.20-24).
Thomas Aquinas, Expositio in Ep. I ad Timotheum cap. 1, lect. 3 (Parma ed., 13.588): Non est ergo in eis [moralibus et caeremonialibus legis] spes iustificationis, sed in sola fide, Rom. 3:28: Arbitramur justificari hominem per fidem, sine operibus legis (Therefore the hope of justification is not found in them [the moral and ceremonial requirements of the law], but in faith alone, Rom 3:28: We consider a human being to be justified by faith, without the works of the law). Cf. In ep. ad Romanos 4.1 (Parma ed., 13.42a): reputabitur fides eius, scilicet sola sine operibus exterioribus, ad iustitiam; In ep. ad Galatas 2.4 (Parma ed., 13.397b): solum ex fide Christi [Opera 20.437, b41]).
Theodore of Mopsuestia, In ep. ad Galatas (ed. H. B. Swete), 1.31.15.
Marius Victorinus (ep. Pauli ad Galatas (ed. A. Locher), ad 2.15-16: Ipsa enim fides sola iustificationem dat-et sanctificationem (For faith itself alone gives justification and sanctification); In ep. Pauli Ephesios (ed. A. Locher), ad 2.15: Sed sola fides in Christum nobis salus est (But only faith in Christ is salvation for us).
Augustine, De fide et operibus, 22.40 (CSEL 41.84-85): licet recte dici possit ad solam fidem pertinere dei mandata, si non mortua, sed viva illa intellegatur fides, quae per dilectionem operatur (Although it can be said that Gods commandments pertain to faith alone, if it is not dead [faith], but rather understood as that live faith, which works through love). Migne Latin Text: Venire quippe debet etiam illud in mentem, quod scriptum est, In hoc cognoscimus eum, si mandata ejus servemus. Qui dicit, Quia cognovi eum, et mandata ejus non servat, mendax est, et in hoc veritas non est (I Joan. II, 3, 4). Et ne quisquam existimet mandata ejus ad solam fidem pertinere: quanquam dicere hoc nullus est ausus, praesertim quia mandata dixit, quae ne multitudine cogitationem spargerent [Note: [Col. 0223] Sic Mss. Editi vero, cogitationes parerent.], In illis duobus tota Lex pendet et Prophetae (Matth. XXII, 40): licet recte dici possit ad solam fidem pertinere Dei mandata, si non mortua, sed viva illa intelligatur fides, quae per dilectionem operatur; tamen postea Joannes ipse aperuit quid diceret, cum ait: Hoc est mandatum ejus, ut credamus nomini Filii ejus Jesu Christi, et diligamns invicem (I Joan. III, 23) See De fide et operibus, Cap. XXII, §40, PL 40:223.
Source: Joseph A. Fitzmyer Romans, A New Translation with introduction and Commentary, The Anchor Bible Series (New York: Doubleday, 1993) 360-361.
Even some Catholic versions of the New Testament also translated Romans 3:28 as did Luther. The Nuremberg Bible (1483), allein durch den glauben and the Italian Bibles of Geneva (1476) and of Venice (1538) say per sola fede.
Did you read this far? I am impressed. Now please allow yourself to take that little line of argumentation out of your apologia, thanks. Martin Luther contra Magisterium? No, actually he agreed with much of the earlier Catholic Church. I would say that the Catholic Church changed its tune when its authority was questioned and looked for anything to hang on the poor ex-monk.
Besides which, soon your church is going to change its mind (again) and make him a saint, praise ecumenicalism! I wonder, how many candles is the RCC going to light to him? I REALLY wonder how they are going to justify anathematizing him and then taking it back.
And I would like to apologize for the tone of the last post. It was smacking of sarcasm, and that is something which is not God glorifying.
Sorry, that “Look it up” comment sparked it. I humbly ask you to do the same.
Paul was called out by our LORD himself to preach the gospel to the Gentiles. That is why Paul always refers to himself as “the Apostle to the Gentiles”.
Peter, James and John approved his message.
Gal 2:9 And when James, Cephas, and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that was given unto me, they gave to me and Barnabas the right hands of fellowship; that we [should go] unto the heathen, and they unto the circumcision.
***Saul never met Jesus.***
Yes he did, on the road to Damascus and in the Temple.
Act 9:5 And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: [it is] hard for thee to kick against the pricks.
Act 22:17 And it came to pass, that, when I was come again to Jerusalem, even while I prayed in the temple, I was in a trance;
Act 22:18 And saw him saying unto me, Make haste, and get thee quickly out of Jerusalem: for they will not receive thy testimony concerning me.
Act 22:19 And I said, Lord, they know that I imprisoned and beat in every synagogue them that believed on thee:
Act 22:20 And when the blood of thy martyr Stephen was shed, I also was standing by, and consenting unto his death, and kept the raiment of them that slew him.
Act 22:21 And he said unto me, Depart: for I will send thee far hence unto the Gentiles.
***How does Saul differ from Joseph Smith? Perhaps mohammed?***
Paul’s message was accepted and approved by the Apostles...
Act 9:26 And when Saul was come to Jerusalem, he assayed to join himself to the disciples: but they were all afraid of him, and believed not that he was a disciple.
Act 9:27 But Barnabas took him, and brought [him] to the apostles, and declared unto them how he had seen the Lord in the way, and that he had spoken to him, and how he had preached boldly at Damascus in the name of Jesus.
Act 9:28 And he was with them coming in and going out at Jerusalem.
And again...winning freedom from Circumcision for the Gentile believers...
Gal 2:7 But contrariwise, when they saw that the gospel of the uncircumcision was committed unto me, as [the gospel] of the circumcision [was] unto Peter;
Gal 2:8 (For he that wrought effectually in Peter to the apostleship of the circumcision, the same was mighty in me toward the Gentiles:)
Gal 2:9 And when James, Cephas, and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that was given unto me, they gave to me and Barnabas the right hands of fellowship; that we [should go] unto the heathen, and they unto the circumcision.
Act 21:18 And the [day] following Paul went in with us unto James; and all the elders were present.
Act 21:19 And when he had saluted them, he declared particularly what things God had wrought among the Gentiles by his ministry.
Act 21:20 And when they heard [it], they glorified the Lord, and said unto him, Thou seest, brother, how many thousands of Jews there are which believe; and they are all zealous of the law:
Act 21:21 And they are informed of thee, that thou teachest all the Jews which are among the Gentiles to forsake Moses, saying that they ought not to circumcise [their] children, neither to walk after the customs.
Act 21:22 What is it therefore? the multitude must needs come together: for they will hear that thou art come.
Act 21:23 Do therefore this that we say to thee: We have four men which have a vow on them;
Act 21:24 Them take, and purify thyself with them, and be at charges with them, that they may shave [their] heads: and all may know that those things, whereof they were informed concerning thee, are nothing; but [that] thou thyself also walkest orderly, and keepest the law.
Act 21:25 As touching the Gentiles which believe, we have written [and] concluded that they observe no such thing, save only that they keep themselves from [things] offered to idols, and from blood,
***Peter preached the Holy Spirit brought conviction then Peter said repent be baptized and receive the Holy Spirit.
Without conviction and repentance their can not be the baptism of water and Spirit.
How many do you know followed that prescribed order? ***
We do know by reading that Cornelius the Gentile was given the Holy Spirit BEFORE he was baptized. Peter even asked his fellows if they could forbid Cornelius to be baptized, and later had to defend his actions before the elders at Jerusalem.
Look at what point in Peter’s address that the Holy Spirit fell.
Act 10:43 To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins.
Act 10:44 While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word.
Act 10:45 And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost.
Act 10:46 For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God. Then answered Peter,
Act 10:47 Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we?
This one act throws all the baptismal demands for salvation into a cocked hat.
The point of the question asked was what does born again mean and it involves repentance. Therefore baptizing people who have not repented is a baptism in vain. Repentance is a changing of ones ways, and the only way one can truly change is through the power of the Holy Spirit in the new birth. The changing does not save one so as you said penance is salvific our actions do not save us it is the grace of God by the power of the Holy Spiritand the new birth. If one could work their way into heaven then there would be no need for the work of the Cross and the sacrifice of the true Lamb of God.