what distinction do you make between being "born again" ... justified by faith (which faith?) and assured of salvation ... and being Baptist?
Let's say you lapsed Orthodox thinks he is justified by faith, assured of salvation, and thinks he knows it. Nonetheless, he believes he was baptized as an infant by the Orthodox, and does not seek nor accept another "believer's" baptism. What say you then?
Let me reverse the order of some of the questions. On assurance, see my previous post. I see justified in the Protestant sense of the term, that is a sort of forensic or legal metaphor: God forgives us our many sins, cleanses us, removes the guilt of them, and declares us 'not guilty'. (Prior to the Reformation justification was understood as being made
righteous, but I am content with the Protestant understanding of the term as meaning being declared
righteous (a status rather than a state, if you like).)
Being born again is a literal new birth. We come into the world by physical birth, but we are not alive spiritually. We are born again
when we are made alive spiritually, united with Christ, alive in him, a new creation. Orthodox see this as happening at baptism; we see it as happening when a person cordially believes in Christ as Saviour and Lord. Either way, it is a separate and later event than physical birth, and it makes one a child of God ("adopted" to use Paul's analogy).
These are entirely different from being Baptist, which denotes one's denominational affiliation, or one's "persuasion" as they used to say.
Now to come to your mooted lapsed Orthodox, it is hard to reply without sitting down and talking with him, for much is revealed in a person's body language, facial expressions, tone of voice, and so on. Again, let me reverse the order of your questions. We do not believe that baptism is essential to salvation, so we would certainly not begin by trying to persuade him that his problem was related to his previous baptism as an infant. The first thing would be to get him right with the Lord, in his relationship with God; he could wrestle with the question of baptism later. Certainly we have unbaptised people (that is, people christened as infants) coming to our church, and we place no pressure upon them on that score, though we do require baptism for church membership.
You say he "thinks he is justified by faith, assured of salvation, and thinks he knows it". I would be surprised to hear him say those things if he were a lapsed Orthodox, because normally I believe you do not speak in those terms. However, assuming he has learnt Evangelical jargon and is speaking to us in it, I would probably attempt to take two approaches:
- I would wish to probe sensitively to discover why he believed he is fact "justified by faith, assured of salvation, and thinks he knows it", to try, as far is is pastorally and humanly possible, to discover whether his was a false assurance based on a faulty understanding of these things, or a second-hand rather than personal faith.
- If it seemed that he truly were "justified by faith, assured of salvation" I would wish to discover what made him lapse from public worship and all the privileges and duties of being a member of the Body of Christ. It might be his reaction to harsh, ungodly people who had treated him badly in church; it might be some sin he was cherishing, or other known and sustained disobedience.
I could ramble on at length to you as to how one should counsel a lapsed believer, but there are some initial and spontaneous ideas. Others are much better pastors than I ever was.