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.
fish hawk wrote:
“Your own Bible, that evidently you do not study, talks of living waters that are spiritual. And of course even those that don’t study the Bible know of John baptizing believers. Of Course John was baptizing into the Kingdom. The spiritual baptism is into Christ. Look it up, I’m not teasing you.”
Isn’t it interesting how so many (note, I did not say all) don’t want to deal with Paul ... or Peter.
As far as “I’m not teasing you” goes, I don’t think you are doing that. I just don’t know what you are doing, or trying to do, or to say. Don’t feel like you have to try explain.
Meanwhile, I’ll stick with the plain language of Ephesians 4:4-6 and 1 Peter 3:21. And the beauty of it is that I don’t have to abandon any of the rest of the Holy Scriptures.
“Faith does not SAVE us. Faith in the Lord Jesus and repentance for our sins is what saves us. How much plainer can I be?”
Next time I respond to you I will spell out fully that by faith, about which any reasonable person could safely have assumed was faith in the crucified, risen, and ascended Lord Jesus Christ, true God and true man, I too meant faith in the crucified, risen, and ascended Lord Jesus Christ, true God and true man. On the other hand, maybe I won’t be responding to you again about faith in the crucified, risen, and ascended Lord Jesus Christ, true God and true man. I may be too busy embracing the things of the world, cozying up to my sins, carrying on with little games, having erroneous thoughts, and selling real estate.
Have a nice day.
Thx for the ping.
Anyone who believes in the Jesus of the gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John is “born again”.
Amen, and I would also like to see some consistent admission that by their own claims Catholic priests are endowed with supernatural powers, as opposed to the clergy of other faiths, or the public at large, and THEREFORE priests should be guilty of this FAR LESS than everyone else. Yet the numbers are the opposite.
My pastor does not claim he is an alter Christus, he does not claim the ability to absolve people of sins, and he does not claim the ability to summon the Holy Spirit to go where he commands at Baptism. Catholic clergy hold themselves out as being superior to the clergy of other faiths. Only they have the direct pipeline to God through their Pope. If ANYONE should receive special protection from this great evil one would think it would be these holy men set above by God.
And yet we see nothing of the kind. We see systemic rampant abuse which is then covered up by superiors. One reason I am certain that I will never convert to Catholicism is that even if it is a legitimate Christian faith for what it stands for on paper, it seems that so few of its leaders are actually practicing that faith.
I see no conflict in I Peter 3:21 and the rest of the Bible, but you are correct that we cannot take a view of one scripture that contradicts other scriptures. God is not a God of confusion.
But my point stands, I can’t think of a reference to Baptism where it not in the context of in regards to salvation, so I could not let someone say Baptism has nothing to do with salvation, so I addressed it.
It is faithful to know you are only worthy of salvation though Christ’s mercy and sacrifice. It is prudent to know you need to continue to try to be worthy of that gift every day of the rest of your life. It is persevering to put what you know about Christ into action.
Christ called the Apostles to action. He wanted them to live His teachings and pass those teachings on to others. He said, “DO this in memory of me.” Not “Know this in memory of me. “
St. Paul also made it clear that of faith, hope and love, the greatest was love. Love is action.
In the beginning was the Word, but He didn’t just stay the Word. He became flesh and lived and breathed and acted and loved. True love and faith requires action. The greatest love was put into action by Christ’s dying on the cross. And Christ reminded us that greater love hath no man but to lay down his life for a friend. Action is the greatest proof of love.
Christ already loved us infinitely. Why did He feel He had to take the action of dying on the cross? Because love, acted upon, is the greatest form of love.
You can see that the Catholic understanding of faith lived in action is closest to what Christ himself did. He didn’t just talk about it.
I’ll be happy to give you my favorite one:
On the road to Emmaus, the travelers minds were not opened when the mysterious stranger quoted Scripture to them. Their minds were only opened to recognize Christ when He took the physical action of breaking the bread.
They already believed in Christ and loved him, but it took putting His request to “DO this in memory of me” to bring them true enlightenment. Then, only then, did they know Him.
There is also Philippians 2:12 where Paul talks about the value of obedience (action following belief) whether he is there to witness it or not. He cautions them to WORK out their salvation in fear and trembling. Why fear unless it can be lost?
In Hebrews 5:9 we see he became “to all that OBEY him, the cause of eternal salvation.”
In Jude 1:3 we are asked to “contend earnestly” for the faith. In verses 4-5 we are told that even if we once “knew all things” we can be destroyed like the Jews who stopped believing in the desert. In 1:6 we hear of the angels who certainly had faith in God, being in His presence, but sinned and were thrown into darkness.
Then there is the parable of the barren fig tree. Because it did not actively produce figs (take action), Christ cursed it.
Why did Christ demand that his Apostles leave everything (actions) and follow Him? Wasn’t believing in Him enough?
In Romans 10:9 one learns one must confess “with they mouth” the Lord Jesus. Again, taking action to affirm your belief. Not just believe deep down in your heart, but speak out. In verse 13, we hear we must CALL on the name of the Lord to be saved. An act of supplication.
In 1 Cor 15:2 we are told we must “hold fast” to the teachings “unless you have believed in vain.” How can you believe in vain? If your heart is not changed by your faith and your actions are not in keeping with Christ’s teachings.
Women could be saved if they continued in faith, love, sanctification and sobriety. A woman had to act out her faith according to 1 Tim 2:12-18.
Obviously belief is first and foremost. But real faith demands action. Christ demanded action. God demanded faithful actions of the Jews as they wandered in the desert. Moses cautioned the Jews to choose Life in their daily existence. Christ constantly pointed out the futility of the pharisees proclaiming their faith while their actions were cruel, prideful and hypocritical.
If one goes through the Acts and the Letters looking for exhortations to DO something, one finds many calls to action. In 2 Cor 5:9-10 we are told we will be judged by what we have DONE, whether it be good or evil. In Gal 5:25 we are reminded that “If we live in the Spirit, let us also WALK in the Spirit.”
In Gal 6:10 We are told that, while we have time, we must WORK good to all men (not just love them). And in verse 9 we are shown there is a way to fail, despite belief. It is if we don’t DO good.
Finally, in Rev 22: 12-15 we hear, powerfully, that when the judgement day comes, He will render to every man according to his works. Not his faith; his works.
These are just a few. I have “actions” scribbled in the margins of almost every page of the Letters.
I may be too busy embracing the things of the world, cozying up to my sins, carrying on with little games, having erroneous thoughts, and selling real estate.
And,might we add, an arrogant attitude? If you took this personal, then I would say - guilty. It was a blanket statement, but, must’ve cut to the quick.
By the way, The Lord hates a haughty spirit. So, while you’re dealing with the above mentioned sins, add haughtiness to your list.
Actually, we have no quarrel about faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, His work on Calvary and Resurrection. I thought you were saying faith saves us. Its where we place our faith is where we seem to be splitting hairs. Quite possibly, I totally misunderstood what you wrote, because it was written in gooblygook. AT least in my opinion. I think we believe the very same regarding salvation.
Anyway, I’m bored with this game, and now must move on. I can tell you are upset and quite possibly, need to grow some fruit in the area of patience.
See post 259.
We agree. A person who claims faith in Christ is required to live out Christ’s words. Good works come about through your faith. Living out your faith through good works, for the rest of your life, brings you salvation.
In Matt 5:22 we know that anyone angry with his brother is in danger of judgement. In Matt 7:19 we know any tree that does not bring forth “good” fruit, shall be cut down and cast into the fire. In Matt 18:8 we find that any part of you that causes you to sin must be cut off lest you be cast into eternal fire.
In 2 Thes 1:8 we hear about those who do not OBEY the gospel. In Jude 1:5 we are admonished that “though ye once knew all things” Christ still destroys the that believed not.
Christ cautioned those he forgave to “sin no more.” Actions. He knew they believed but something more was required. Change. Conversion of thought and behaviour. He also said in John 8:34 that whoever commits a sin is the servant of sin. In John 15:22 He says, powerfully, that “If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin.” In Romans 6 we are told to be dead to sin. Believers are told to let no sin reign in their mortal bodies.
Finally in 1 Cor 8:12 we are told firmly that when we sin against our brethren and wound their weak conscience, we sin against Christ.
“And,might we add, an arrogant attitude? ... By the way, The Lord hates a haughty spirit. So, while youre dealing with the above mentioned sins, add haughtiness to your list.”
Fortunately for my keyboard I wasn’t drinking anything when I read your penetrating observations.
“It was a blanket statement, but, mustve cut to the quick.”
Grow up. Respect for the rules of FR keep me from saying more.
“Anyway, Im bored with this game, and now must move on. I can tell you are upset and quite possibly, need to grow some fruit in the area of patience.”
I can’t stop laughing. You are a piece of work.
We are all born again in Baptism.
More importantly though is where we are as adults in accepting Jesus as our Savior. We depend on Him for our salvation for none of us are worthy on our own merit to go to heaven. The very sin nature of man makes it very possible.
Most Catholics get these issues above, but there are some less educated Catholics that may not get some of the issues above and that is where we need God’s mercy.
Heaven help us all.
A Catholic CA Guy :-)
You are a piece as well, but, I hesitate to use the word work.
Nah, not goodbye to you, but, good riddance.
But, I suspect it is too busy burying the stories of its pedophilia and protection of dirty priests by Ratzinger. Tragic, but expected when men focus on themselves. Is this more of the non-hate which manifests itself in the “love” of little boys?
Hmmmm..you are aware, I assume, that the incidence ofclergy preying on young boys is FAR more prevelant in the protestant clergy than it is in Catholocism.....and the protestants are usually married which exacerbates the situation. Do Catholics have their share of idiots, of course we do, but in no greater numbers than any other religious group.
You don't seem to catch the enormity of the problem with the RC organization. They claim exclusivity to being the "true church", they claim that each of the ordained priests is another "Christos" (Jesus on earth), they claim that these men may absolve others from sin, they claim that they ALONE speak the gospel. Now...this is just the Catholics "share of idiots"?
Few could argue that the Catholics certainly have a number of idiots, but to use that as a reason to turn the focus from those claiming they alone have the "keys" to others is disingenuous. Can't have it both ways, exclusive and flawed. I think we all can tell which it really is.
Go read what is going on at this thread: "Vatican fights to distance Pope from abuse scandals"
I read it. I’m not playing a game.
Salvation is offered to us through faith. True faith would be lived out in actions. If there aren’t faithful actions, it would be like hiding your light under a bushel— or forgetting to put oil in the lamps— or not bearing fruit— or not turning the money loaned to you by the owner of the vineyard into a good investment.
Christ was a man of action. He demanded action of the Apostles and all of us. We can’t just believe in the cross; we must TAKE UP the cross and FOLLOW Him. Action. We must DO something if we believe. Action brings us to salvation.
I agree with you.
Perhaps what you call salvation is what we call being baptized a child of God. We become His. At some point there must be a true, conscious, and reasoned conversion. We call that Confirmation. Good deeds are a manifestation of that faith conversion. We are born again as adult believers in Christ— with all the responsibilities that entails.
Let’s not forget that some people were named righteous by Christ because of what they did (like the good Samaritan) despite their beliefs or status. Actions seemed to matter to Him very much.
Jesus IS the Church, but He put Peter in charge of BUILDING it after His resurrection.
If Peter and the other Apostles DIDN"T go out and build the Church, what do you think would have happened???? It would have died out!
Jesus does not lie. Nor does the Word of God. Some misinterpret what the Word says, what Jesus said, even what He says today.
I think YOU have mis-interpretted Him! What Jesus said, he MEANT....choose what youCHOOSE to believe at your peril.
I know my Lord and my God. I choose to believe Him. And I do not have to have any mediator other than my Lord Jesus Christ.
Blessings, Ann Archy. May the Peace of the Lord be with you!
Born Again - a method for churches, ministers, etc. to make more money.
A friend took me to one of those born again services.
People looked at me like I was strange. They had big wide eyes and these goofy smiles as if to say isn't it wonderful. I couldn't get out of there fast enough.
Freep-mail me to get on or off my pro-life and Catholic List:
Please ping me to note-worthy Pro-Life or Catholic threads, or other threads of general interest.
Where is the Beatitude in your Christianity?
Where is your Biblical knowledge? If you are not 100% sure of your afterlife you are in big trouble.
**I have always had a negative reaction to the phrase “born again”. It suggests having been “born” once and then “born again” into a new religion.**
Then your issue is with jesus. He said it.
The concept of "born again" is not a man-made creation. Jesus is credited with those words in the bible.
Therefore, it is valid, and it should be respected by true followers of Jesus. That doesn't mean it isn't abused by some, but we don't jettison truth just because someone distorts it.
It is not about denomination. It's about Jesus' words.
Since Jesus said, "You must be born again.", then we must take it seriously.
Not in the context of the people who claim to be "born again".
I'm not asking you to turn Catholic, I'm just asking you to believe what Jesus HIMSELF said about Peter.
I have Jesus in my heart, I take a bite out of him every week.
Frankly I think these threads do more to tear apart Freepers than bind them together. It is almost as if we play into the hands of those revolutionaries who have changed America since 1930.
It is up to God to answer the question of who gets into heaven. It is up to us to live our lives to glorify Him.
Baptism and Confirmation are sufficient
(i.e., to be born “from above” according to the metaphor on St. John). All of the grace needed is there. How the person acts upon the grace and gifts of the Holy Spirit will vary from person to person as they mature. Since not everyone has mystical experiences or private revelations there is no requirement of that. A baptized infant goes to God in Heaven
regardless of any additional “born again” experience. To deny that would be heresy.
1 Cor 1:14 I thank God that I baptized none of you except Crispus and Gaius, 15so that no one may say that you were baptized in my name. 16(I did baptize also the household of Stephanas. Beyond that, I do not know whether I baptized anyone else.) 17For Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel, and not with words of eloquent wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.
“...You are Peter (rock)...”
If you look carefully at the name ‘Peter’ you will find that it means “pebble, or small stone”. Not a foundational “Rock”. We are told in Scripture that Jesus is the Rock, and the cornerstone. Jesus, Yashua, Son of God is the foundation for all that God is doing on earth, and with his creation, including men, including what we call the church.
Does God lie?
See you in heaven, I hope.
Where is heaven? If being in heaven means being with my Lord and my Savior, then yes, I will be in heaven. I KNOW that I will be with Him, whereever he is. I have that hope...my ‘hope’ is guarenteed, by Him. He is with me now, in my heart.
I hope you know with the same hope that I have.
Again, blessings. May the Peace of the Lord always be with you.
Freep-mail me to get on or off my pro-life and Catholic List:
Please ping me to note-worthy Pro-Life or Catholic threads, or other threads of general interest.