Skip to comments.Are Catholics “Born Again?”
Posted on 03/13/2010 1:24:38 PM PST by NYer
Our parish has a Q&A feature in which staff members tackle the queries left in a comment box or e-mailed to the parish. I volunteered to reply to the question titled above:
The root of this principle is in John 3:3-5, and it reads:
Jesus said to (Nicodemus), “Amen, amen, I say to you, no one can see the kingdom of God without being born from above.”
Nicodemus said to him, “How can a person once grown old be born again? Surely he cannot reenter his mother’s womb and be born again, can he?”
Jesus answered, “Amen, amen, I say to you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit.
Scripture scholars note that the Greek word ἄνωθεν (anothen) means both “from above” and “again.” Jesus seems to be referring to the first meaning, and Nicodemus seems to misinterpret the Lord, taking the second meaning.
Misunderstandings aside, the notion of being reborn in baptism, in water and Spirit, tells of the great significance of the sacrament, and of the commitment to the Christian life it implies. Jesus certainly preaches that those who wish to see and participate in the kingdom of God will experience such a momentous change in their lives, that the notion of a second birth is not an exaggeration.
Many Christians speak of being born again, as a graced event in which people, usually adults, experience the Lord in such a significant way that its like a whole new life for them. And ideally, this is what all Christians should experience when they commit themselves to Jesus Christ. The question might be raised: does it happen only once? Or is it possible, through a continuing conversion, to go progressively deeper into a Christian commitment to God? The witness of the saints might suggest that this continuing experience is the mark of a godly life.
In baptism, and even as infants, Catholics are born again, in the sense Jesus means: being born of water and Spirit. Its no accident that the baptismal font at our parish was designed to suggest a tomb, and that in baptism we participate in death and rebirth, as Saint Paul describes, We were indeed buried with him through baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might live in newness of life. (Romans 6:4)
As a child grows, an openness to Gods grace is necessary. The same is true for adults. Baptism is not a magical event, and neither is the evangelical or charismatic experience of being born again. Each of these experiences is an opportunity for Gods grace to work in us. But we always have the freedom to choose: we can close ourselves off from divine grace, or we can cooperate with Gods will and live out a Christian life after being born from above.
Image Credit: painter Edward Tanner (1899), Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia.
Great topic! My grandmother (Catholic) and I (Baptist) were just talking about this today.
We agreed that it’s not religion that gets you to heaven, it’s your faith.
The first “saved” person was a thief who never attended church.
“And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom. And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, Today shalt thou be with me in paradise.”
Shouldn’t the question be, “Are non-Catholics born again?”
As a Catholic I recognize that my parents brought me to be "born" into Christ the day I was baptized - I don't need to do it "again".
I may be incorrect but the "born again" Christians that I know tend to think they've transcended their previous beliefs and go on to feel (and act) a bit superior to the rest of the Christian world. It's as though they have, by being "born again", received some special blessing.
Absolutely right! He could not be baptized since he was also hanging from a cross. We call that Baptism of Desire.
I agree with you completely!!!!!!!!!!
Absolutely right! Unfortunately, many Catholics neglect their faith and leave the Church. These are the premiere victims of those non-Catholic ministers who tell them they are not christians until they are "born again".
Life can be a long faith journey. For some of us, we become distracted and turn our attention to other faiths under this false notion. Essentially, we are "born again" through the Sacrament of Baptism and with God's graces, we will continue along the rocky path that leads to eternal happiness with our Lord.
Not only did the thief never attend church, he never had communion, got baptized, or said one hail Mary. The ONLY thing that saved him was his belief in that Man on the cross next to him.
You are so right in that question!
More than once, I have been asked by well-meaning Baptists or Evangelicals if, even though a Catholic, I had been born again or had considered becoming a Christian. On such occasions I must usually pause as I choke down a laugh and contrive a polite reply.
Many would state that they are “born again” every morning when they turn to God in prayer and repentance, or every time they receive the Eucharist, or every time they go to confession. In this sense being “born again” is not just a one-time deal. Conversion is just the first baby step, not the end-state. We must each day be born again, and converted through the renewal of our minds and spirit by drawing closer to Christ anew each time. Such is the need our fallen nature requires.
Celebrate Your Birthday in the Church
Baptismal Complexes- The Sacrament of Baptism, Part 2
The Catechism of St. Thomas Aquinas BAPTISM
Beginning Catholic: The Sacrament of Baptism: Gateway to New Life [Ecumenical]
Converted Muslim Tells Story Behind Papal Baptism
What You [Catholics] Need to Know: Baptism [Catholic/Orthodox Caucus]
A Brief Catechism for Adults - Lesson 20: The Sacrament of Baptism
Baptism and the Usus Antiquior (Catholic/Orthodox Caucus)
Justified by Baptism (fallout from the Beckwith conversion grows)
The Million-Dollar Infant Baptism
Mystical Baptism and Limbo
The Early Church Fathers on Baptism - Catholic/Orthodox Caucus
A Critique of a Critique (On Baptism by Immersion)
Catholics, Reformed Christian Churches sign document recognizing common baptism
Yes, and yes!!! This has been my walk with Christ. Although the initial experience was distinct, I was born again at that moment of asking Jesus into my life. My walk with Christ has been much like my physical growth. I went through baby, to toddler stage, adolescent stage, the teen stage and ended up being stuck there for awhile. You know how teens are? They think they know everything. Until about 8 years ago, I experienced a physical healing from liver cancer, which lead to a rapid spiritual maturity over a period of 5 or so months. It was more profound then my physical healing was. I understand something that's so simple, yet took me over 25 years to finally get. God is good ALL the time!!! He loves us more than we can ever comprehend.
I agree. My wife and I happend to go to a chicken barbeque being held at a local "Tabernacle Church", these are the "born again" types, and all we wanted was to get our chicken, eat it and leave. Well, that was not going to happen as I found out once we sat down. We were bombarded with questions, "are you folks members?" No. "Have you thought of joining us?" Not really. "Have you been born again?" etc etc etc. We could not get out of there fast enough.
Your reply has drawn a stark silence here from among the RC crowd. It just doesn’t fit their paradigm of the RCC being the center of the universe...nearly their god.
But, my FRiend, you are absolutely correct. He was rescued by the Rescuer, alone. And according to the Scriptures, this rescue was determined before the foundation of the earth.
That doesn’t allow the whole “we’ve got the keys” crowd to make the decisions about who gets in very happy. Just watch.
You got to me kidding me. You want me to read all that Catholic “stuff”. (I’ve cleaned that up for you). What you sent me is part of the Catholic problem. Just answer me this very one thing. Do you believe that you can’t go to heaven if you have not been baptized. Here is a hint: the thief on the cross was not baptized, did Jesus lie when he told him , Today you will be with me in Paradise.
It is certainly possible, but all the Catholics I know have not been born again, with the exception of one. She is where I was ten years ago, trying to fit her life-changing experience into a Catholic straitjacket. She has yet to find a milieu that will support and nourish her conversion. I have brought her to my church, but even the powerful rush of the spirit in that place could not persuade her to open her eyes the rest of the way and provide her with a home with her fellow saved. We can’t do it. God alone can do it. In his good time He will, I pray.