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Author Topic: The "Born Again Experience"  (Read 2912 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: April 27, 2012, 01:50:32 PM »

This seems to be another one of those catchy phrases you hear in most Evangelical circles. Protestants (and ex-Protestants), what do you understand the "born again experience" to be? What does such an experience entail from a Protestant perspective?

From an Orthodox perspective, can we relate to this concept in some way? Where do our paths coincide, and where do they diverge?
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« Reply #1 on: April 27, 2012, 02:03:52 PM »

When I was a Protestant that term mostly signified a point when you "gave your life to Christ" or something along those lines. The group I was in was a Wesleyan holiness group, and while they definitely affirmed the idea that salvation was "a gift and not of works," and would be uncomfortable with Orthodox concepts like theosis, nonetheless they did believe that living a Christian life was important, and also that you could "lose your salvation". To be born again was sort of putting off the old man and taking on the new, but at that point you were still a baby in Christ, only taking the milk; you were expected to mature and "build up in stature" to the fullness of Christ. However, this maturing didn't make you more saved somehow, or change the status (or certainty of your status) of whether you were saved or not. Being mature meant you were showing the fruits that would be expected of someone that was saved, and it meant that you were probably less likely to "fall away" or backslide, but whether you had died at the second you had your "born again experience," or after 30 years of maturing, well either way you'd have been saved.
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« Reply #2 on: April 27, 2012, 02:19:57 PM »

I think the "born again experience" is sometimes so emphasized because it is often the singular point of salvation in certain protestant theologies.  So from that perspective it is necessarily a big deal.  Orthodoxy certainly affirms being "born again", but it is a starting point, not the end point, so it carries a different emphasis.
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« Reply #3 on: April 27, 2012, 02:29:19 PM »

To me it simply meant repenting and believing in Jesus Christ as God and Savior, and receiving an assurance of salvation - a 'sure word from God', if you will (in the crowd I ran with, eternal security was not a big thing).That has happened to me several times in my life, once when I was Roman Catholic and not particularly amenable to such things. Was I 'saved'? Sure. At the time, I believed and still believe that if I'd died, I would've gone to be with God. Call that presumption if you like.

That said I think there is rather too much stock put in these experiences among Protestants. My Messianic Jewish Baptist....ish...friend continues to speak of the time I 'got saved' (for him there is only one, because the prior experience is automatically rendered not-genuine by reason of being prior) even though he knows I do not really see it that way. I got a sure word from God, and it was what I needed to overcome despair at my sin. No more, no less.
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« Reply #4 on: April 27, 2012, 02:59:18 PM »

I think the "born again experience" is sometimes so emphasized because it is often the singular point of salvation in certain protestant theologies.  So from that perspective it is necessarily a big deal.  Orthodoxy certainly affirms being "born again", but it is a starting point, not the end point, so it carries a different emphasis.

It also is usually comes with an emotional high, excitement, etc., but that wears off without going to get pumped back up by another Sunday service.  I have seen it to many times, experienced it myself as a former Baptist, and still see it in my wife and friends at the Baptist church.   I would call it akin to the high school pep rally, political rally, motivational rally, were the leaders pump up those in attendance, get the excited, then try to get you to buy to goods and say I do.   Tongue
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« Reply #5 on: April 27, 2012, 02:59:39 PM »

Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!



From an Orthodox perspective, can we relate to this concept in some way? Where do our paths coincide, and where do they diverge?


In the strictest sense, if the born again experience is just a name for the self-realization and increasing self-awareness of one's relationship with God and the human race, then we need to also emphasis this.  The Mysteries are not dry, boring, ancient.  They are active, powerful, and dynamic.  We draw closer to God each time we Confess our sins, each time we are blessed to receive Holy Communion, each time we respect the Ordination of our Clergy or the Vocational Blessing of our Marriages.  This should be a born-again moment, where we reminded through prayer our relationship with God.  This is a born-again experience, not in a Pauline "seen the light" kind of way, but more so in continually growing deeper in one's awareness of God.  Sometimes in Orthodox folks get rather complacent, and forget that this relationship, like all human relationships, must be maintained and cultivated.  That being said, every single time we confess our sins and are Reconciled by the Prayer of Absolution, we should be reminded in our hearts that our Baptism has been renewed, and have very much so been born again and again.  Each time sin wounds us, Confession heals the wound, and each time we are wounded we die to sin, and each time we Confess we are healed, restored, and reconciled.  This is the truest expression of being born again as Jesus told Nicodemus, it is more Orthodox than Evangelicals ever realized.  Their born again experience is an emotive reaction of a yearning for God, but it becomes a holy roller routine in the end, but God's true Grace is in the Mysteries of the Church, where we are really born again Wink

stay blessed,
habte selassie
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« Reply #6 on: April 27, 2012, 04:49:16 PM »

subscribing to answer this here soon. I'll give ya my story. Hopefully, it'll clear it up for ya.

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« Reply #7 on: April 27, 2012, 09:29:49 PM »

I admit I used to believe (correctly or not) that the teaching was sort of covenent that would never be broken. Today I still think of myself, and Christians in general, as being Born Again, but the key word to me now is 'Born'. Peter Gillequist wrote that the New Birth we have is the very necessary beginning, but we should focus our entire Life in Christ, not only the very beginning of it
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« Reply #8 on: April 27, 2012, 10:03:42 PM »

I think that using this "born again" idea to secure your entire salvation upon is a bit strange, since we struggle to follow the Lord until the day we go to Him.

I can equate being "born again" to entering the Church, and the amazing changes it makes in one's life.  I can say that I was "born again" the day I was Chrismated, because I was no linger working for myself only in this life, but Christ my God.  This changes everything I do, sometimes to the point of suffering.  It's a new life we're born into, that's for sure.
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« Reply #9 on: April 27, 2012, 10:40:44 PM »

When I was a Protestant that term mostly signified a point when you "gave your life to Christ" or something along those lines. The group I was in was a Wesleyan holiness group, and while they definitely affirmed the idea that salvation was "a gift and not of works," and would be uncomfortable with Orthodox concepts like theosis, nonetheless they did believe that living a Christian life was important, and also that you could "lose your salvation". To be born again was sort of putting off the old man and taking on the new, but at that point you were still a baby in Christ, only taking the milk; you were expected to mature and "build up in stature" to the fullness of Christ. However, this maturing didn't make you more saved somehow, or change the status (or certainty of your status) of whether you were saved or not. Being mature meant you were showing the fruits that would be expected of someone that was saved, and it meant that you were probably less likely to "fall away" or backslide, but whether you had died at the second you had your "born again experience," or after 30 years of maturing, well either way you'd have been saved.

I think this is a very good description of what my understanding of it was. I especially like the emphasis on the idea that "you were expected to mature and 'build up in stature'". I think the whole Calvinist "once saved always saved" idea gets applied to much to Protestantism. In the several Churches I've been part of throughout my life it was not part of any of them. Additionally, you were expected to "work" at it, it was not supposed to be easy even in the Pentecostal/Charismatic Churches I was part of you were expected to be "Born Again" to get "saved" but then you had to work to keep growing and to get closer to the fullness of God.

I don't know, for me theologically the major doctrinal issues haven't been as much a challenge about converting to Orthodoxy as the more practical issues like venerating Saints etc. True, I probably still haven't completely given up on the idea of assurance of salvation yet, but I've always understood it to be possible to loose salvation. Just mostly to me that's involved actually walking away from God, not still moving toward him but with some small unconfessed sin. I understand this to not be the Orthodox view and intellectually I'm good with that, it's just something I need to work on more I guess.
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« Reply #10 on: April 28, 2012, 12:08:08 AM »

I admit I used to believe (correctly or not) that the teaching was sort of covenent that would never be broken. Today I still think of myself, and Christians in general, as being Born Again, but the key word to me now is 'Born'. Peter Gillequist wrote that the New Birth we have is the very necessary beginning, but we should focus our entire Life in Christ, not only the very beginning of it
Fr. Peter Gilquist?
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« Reply #11 on: April 28, 2012, 01:15:33 AM »

Basically that fun, giddy feeling that everything is going to be all right at the moment of your conversion except hardcore Evangelicals try to preserve this feeling forever while the Orthodox simply let it grow and lead you where it leads you in your spiritual life.
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« Reply #12 on: April 28, 2012, 01:32:19 AM »

Basically that fun, giddy feeling that everything is going to be all right at the moment of your conversion except hardcore Evangelicals try to preserve this feeling forever while the Orthodox simply let it grow and lead you where it leads you in your spiritual life.
So there's no theology behind the idea?

The Jews say that when a gentile converts, he gets a new soul.
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« Reply #13 on: April 28, 2012, 01:35:57 AM »

Basically that fun, giddy feeling that everything is going to be all right at the moment of your conversion except hardcore Evangelicals try to preserve this feeling forever while the Orthodox simply let it grow and lead you where it leads you in your spiritual life.
So there's no theology behind the idea?

I would not go that far, but most Evangelical theology is very watered down and simplistic.

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The Jews say that when a gentile converts, he gets a new soul.

What is a soul to the Jews?
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« Reply #14 on: April 28, 2012, 01:41:00 AM »

Basically that fun, giddy feeling that everything is going to be all right at the moment of your conversion except hardcore Evangelicals try to preserve this feeling forever while the Orthodox simply let it grow and lead you where it leads you in your spiritual life.
So there's no theology behind the idea?

I would not go that far, but most Evangelical theology is very watered down and simplistic.

Quote
The Jews say that when a gentile converts, he gets a new soul.

What is a soul to the Jews?

I imagine the same as it is for Christians. It is the essence of that person, the spark of god placed in a fleshly vessel.

Jews actually believe in two souls... a godly soul and an animal soul. The animal soul is passion, drive, instinct -- not evil necessarily, but it needs to be placed in "the yoke of heaven" by the godly soul (as a farmer would place an ox in a yoke) so that it can be utilized for holy matters.
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« Reply #15 on: April 28, 2012, 07:05:36 AM »

Basically that fun, giddy feeling that everything is going to be all right at the moment of your conversion except hardcore Evangelicals try to preserve this feeling forever while the Orthodox simply let it grow and lead you where it leads you in your spiritual life.
So there's no theology behind the idea?
Of course there is, the favorite saying in the Church I grew up in was "Where is it written". There's gotta be a verse for everything, and preferably several verses. The Protestants do have "Systematic Theology" Classes, and seminaries offering masters level degrees for ministers was the norm for the Evangelical Church I grew up in. Moreover, Doctoral degrees were not unheard of. Even the Pentecostal/Charismatic Church I got my ministerial credential in, knowing I had an undergrad degree from a Christian University, still wanted me to take an additional four courses to get the license.

Too often we get the idea that Protestantism or Evangelicalism or Pentecostalism/Charismaticism is all about feelings and no thought. Well, there are people from those Churches that devote their whole lives to the study and analysis of the Scriptures. They write books they do archaeological work, they do apologetics, and they have big words for things like Soteriology, Pneumatology or Eschatology.
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« Reply #16 on: April 28, 2012, 10:04:56 AM »

Basically that fun, giddy feeling that everything is going to be all right at the moment of your conversion except hardcore Evangelicals try to preserve this feeling forever while the Orthodox simply let it grow and lead you where it leads you in your spiritual life.
So there's no theology behind the idea?
Of course there is, the favorite saying in the Church I grew up in was "Where is it written". There's gotta be a verse for everything, and preferably several verses. The Protestants do have "Systematic Theology" Classes, and seminaries offering masters level degrees for ministers was the norm for the Evangelical Church I grew up in. Moreover, Doctoral degrees were not unheard of. Even the Pentecostal/Charismatic Church I got my ministerial credential in, knowing I had an undergrad degree from a Christian University, still wanted me to take an additional four courses to get the license.

Too often we get the idea that Protestantism or Evangelicalism or Pentecostalism/Charismaticism is all about feelings and no thought. Well, there are people from those Churches that devote their whole lives to the study and analysis of the Scriptures. They write books they do archaeological work, they do apologetics, and they have big words for things like Soteriology, Pneumatology or Eschatology.

Great post.  Thank you.
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« Reply #17 on: April 28, 2012, 03:52:19 PM »

Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

In the strictest sense, if the born again experience is just a name for the self-realization and increasing self-awareness of one's relationship with God and the human race, then we need to also emphasis this.  The Mysteries are not dry, boring, ancient.  They are active, powerful, and dynamic.  We draw closer to God each time we Confess our sins, each time we are blessed to receive Holy Communion, each time we respect the Ordination of our Clergy or the Vocational Blessing of our Marriages.

stay blessed,
habte selassie

Thanks Habte. I am not sure what "born again" is (perhaps because I'm a cradle Orthodox) but I could relate what you wrote here. This is kind of what happened to me as a freshman in high school during and following a church youth retreat where we sort of mimicked the the life of a monastic with total silence between breakfast and dinner. The event occurred while reading Matthew chapters 5-7 alone in the middle of a sand dune just north of the Pebble Beach golf course. I truly felt God's love and understood it to a limited extent (I am still learning in this regard). I knew at that point how I was going to live my life and why I am here. Some people have a teacher that changes the course of their life forever. I had this event. It was not a rebirth. I was just mature enough to see clearly and feel it deeply. This does not mean that I have not veered away from the path that was revealed to me. But why this happens is perplexing.

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« Reply #18 on: April 30, 2012, 10:18:03 AM »

I agree with much that has already been said. I can expand a little on what Asteriktos said as the Church I pray at holds a similar view for the most part. I have no authority nor do I really consider myself qualified to do so please understand… 

John Wesley viewed what he called the ‘new birth’ and ‘justification’ as a simultaneous act. It is actually part of a process though, so allow me to first mention prevalent Grace, the wake up call if you will, that is freely offered to all.  If we answer that call then we by God’s Grace are offered the gift of faith and repentance. If, by our own free will, we enter the ‘gateway’ of faith and repentance (also by God’s grace) with Truth, obedience, and a cooperative, willing, open heart we are blessed with justification and new birth. Justification relating to that which God does for us, in forgiving our sins and the new birth being what God does in us, by renewing our fallen nature. Again he viewed these actions as occurring simultaneously, though he claimed the human mind typically thinks of justification preceding new birth. It is critical that we realize even after justification and new birth that the roots of sin remain in ones heart, and cleavage very much still does exist. (Man, don’t I know it) In this view once saved always saved is utter nonsense.  No offence intended to those that believe in such. If however we continue to ‘cooperate’ with God’s Grace, then we continue to receive His Grace and continue to grow in our spirituality toward regeneration with the ultimate goal of entire sanctification. So in the Wesleyan view, as it has been revealed to me anyway, being born again is the beginning of the process of living in Christ not the end result.

In my view, for me personally, ‘born again’ is the ending of a life lived of the world and all the delusion that goes with it, and the beginning of a life that must continue to grow in the light and Truth of our Lord Jesus Christ. While it does of course include the gift of the Spirit it is not a one time, all inclusive ‘you are saved’ event. While positive emotions may certainly be found in it, so will hardships as repentance is not always a feel good emotional thing. Emotional bliss has nothing to do with the confirmation of being reborn. For me ‘born again’ could also be termed ‘Die to self to live in Christ’.
 
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« Reply #19 on: April 30, 2012, 11:53:51 AM »

Of course the terminology of being “born again” comes from the Gospel of St. John, Chapter 3:

Quote
Jesus answered and said to him, "Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God."  Nicodemus said to Him, "How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother's womb and be born?" Jesus answered, "Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.” (verses 3-5)

In this verse, the Lord does not refer to a “born again experience” but to the act of being born again of water and the Spirit, in other words, through the sacraments of baptism and chrismation (“the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit” – Titus 3:5).  The “born again experience” as Pentecostals and other Protestants refer to it, removes the “born again” terminology from its scriptural and sacramental context, and by emphasizing a kind of conversion experience that is separate from the sacraments of baptism and chrismation, they end up distorting the Scriptures and creating an erroneous understanding of man’s salvation.  This is a very serious issue.  If the Lord says that one “cannot enter the kingdom of God” “unless one is born again”, then by distorting what it means to be “born again”, one distorts the Lord’s instructions regarding the means by which man enters the kingdom of God.  How will you arrive at the right destination with an erroneous map? 

Regarding such “conversion experiences” that take place outside of the Orthodox Church, they may lead a man to regeneration through baptism (as was the case for Cornelius the Centurion and St. Paul), or they could be the Spirit attempting to draw man to salvation (which he may or may not cooperate with), or they could be simply an emotional/psychological delusion that one mistakes for the Holy Spirit.  Within many sectors of Protestantism, lights, electric music, fluctuations in fast and slow beats, alternations between shouting and soft whispers – all of these things are increasingly used in order to manipulate man’s psycho-emotional constitution and manufacture a “born again experience” which closely mimics (both in manipulative musical methodology and experiential effect) pagan shamanic experience.

We should not strive for or hope for any kind of experience, but should rather seek to be regenerated through a true baptism in the true Church which Christ established for the purpose of man’s regeneration.  Then, after being received into the Church and Body of Christ, we should strive to be faithful to Christ, obedient to his commandments, and quick to renew our baptismal garments through the mystery of Confession & Repentance when we fail to follow Christ as we should.  All of the Fathers say that the only experience we should strive for is that of the increasing awareness of our own sins so that we might attract God’s grace through sincere repentance, humility, and the mourning which contains the seeds of eternal joy.  Otherwise, "spiritual experiences" very often become the cause of man's delusion and ultimate separation from God.
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« Reply #20 on: April 30, 2012, 02:01:46 PM »

Protestants how do you reply to Jah's post above?

btw, here is a good article on the Odox perspective of "being born of water and the Spirit"

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=32:born-of-water-and-the-spirit&catid=14:articles&Itemid=2
« Last Edit: April 30, 2012, 02:04:04 PM by Ortho_cat » Logged
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« Reply #21 on: April 30, 2012, 03:48:49 PM »

Protestants how do you reply to Jah's post above?

btw, here is a good article on the Odox perspective of "being born of water and the Spirit"

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=32:born-of-water-and-the-spirit&catid=14:articles&Itemid=2

Without objection for the most part, unless there is an inference that this can only be obtained through Orthodoxy or a confession must go through a Priest.

Thanks for the link. Will read a little later but will also foreward to my daughter as she is struggling to decide whether to Baptize my new born grandson or not. FYI; if you recall I sent her the 'Christian Mystic' lecture. She visited her first Divine Liturgy yesterday. Glory to God.
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« Reply #22 on: April 30, 2012, 04:13:06 PM »

Protestants how do you reply to Jah's post above?

btw, here is a good article on the Odox perspective of "being born of water and the Spirit"

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=32:born-of-water-and-the-spirit&catid=14:articles&Itemid=2

Without objection for the most part, unless there is an inference that this can only be obtained through Orthodoxy or a confession must go through a Priest.

Thanks for the link. Will read a little later but will also foreward to my daughter as she is struggling to decide whether to Baptize my new born grandson or not. FYI; if you recall I sent her the 'Christian Mystic' lecture. She visited her first Divine Liturgy yesterday. Glory to God.

Glory to God indeed! Smiley
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« Reply #23 on: April 30, 2012, 04:31:11 PM »

Protestants how do you reply to Jah's post above?

btw, here is a good article on the Odox perspective of "being born of water and the Spirit"

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=32:born-of-water-and-the-spirit&catid=14:articles&Itemid=2

Without objection for the most part, unless there is an inference that this can only be obtained through Orthodoxy or a confession must go through a Priest.

Thanks for the link. Will read a little later but will also foreward to my daughter as she is struggling to decide whether to Baptize my new born grandson or not. FYI; if you recall I sent her the 'Christian Mystic' lecture. She visited her first Divine Liturgy yesterday. Glory to God.

Glory to God indeed! Smiley

To clarify I did not get the impression Jah's post inferred Orthodox only by the way.

Ironically, he was one that was generous in offering advice and insight to the OC's in my daughters area. I sent you a message Jah, as requested, on their experience.

Peace and Grace all!
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« Reply #24 on: April 30, 2012, 04:57:19 PM »

Protestants how do you reply to Jah's post above?

btw, here is a good article on the Odox perspective of "being born of water and the Spirit"

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=32:born-of-water-and-the-spirit&catid=14:articles&Itemid=2

Good post and good link (the only correction I'd make to the linked article is that the Romans passage should read chapter 6 rather than 5). 

I grew up Southern Baptist, and as such had similar objections to infant baptism (which I steadfastly refused to even call a 'baptism') and baptismal regeneration.  However, 8-9 years ago after studying the early church and reexamaning the Scriptures I changed my mind on both issues.  About 3 1/2 years ago I had my three children at the time (ages 5, 3 and 1 month) baptized in the Anglican Catholic church where I had been confirmed about 8 months prior.
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« Reply #25 on: May 12, 2012, 01:09:58 PM »

Without wishing to quibble, I think a distinction should be made between regeneration (being born again) and the experience of regeneration. We (i.e. Evangelicals) believe that "you must be born again"; we do not teach that you must know the moment when it occurred. Most of us can indeed look back to a time when we can say it happened to us: in my case, some 49 years ago, though I remember it clearly. But some people who grow up in a Christian home, and hear about the Lord more or less 'from the cradle', cannot identify a time when they did not believe: but they know that they do believe, and do not doubt that they are born-again people - regenerated by the Spirit of God.

Concerning the experience, for some it is very quiet and private; with others, strikingly dramatic and accompanied with strong emotion.

As has been written above, when genuine, we look for the fruits of the new birth, that is growth in Christlike character and living.
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« Reply #26 on: May 17, 2012, 09:07:35 AM »

Without wishing to quibble, I think a distinction should be made between regeneration (being born again) and the experience of regeneration. We (i.e. Evangelicals) believe that "you must be born again"; we do not teach that you must know the moment when it occurred. Most of us can indeed look back to a time when we can say it happened to us: in my case, some 49 years ago, though I remember it clearly. But some people who grow up in a Christian home, and hear about the Lord more or less 'from the cradle', cannot identify a time when they did not believe: but they know that they do believe, and do not doubt that they are born-again people - regenerated by the Spirit of God.

Concerning the experience, for some it is very quiet and private; with others, strikingly dramatic and accompanied with strong emotion.

As has been written above, when genuine, we look for the fruits of the new birth, that is growth in Christlike character and living.

Just to reiterate, there is no such term as “born again experience” in Apostolic and historic Christianity.  The Lord’s teaching that we must be “born again” (or “born from above” as a more accurate translation), and the Scriptural references concerning our regeneration, refer solely to what takes place through the sacrament of baptism by virtue of the death, resurrection, and ascension of Christ, and his sending down of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost.  In this sacrament, man is regenerated and “born from above” whether he realizes or experiences this fact or not.  Of course, if a person is baptized later in life, when they have the ability to talk about and describe their experience (which is not the case with infants), they may relate how they actually felt regenerated and filled with the grace of the Holy Spirit when baptized.  Whether one experiences this or not, however, man is regenerated when given a true baptism into the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church. 

While there is no such terminology as “born again experience” in Apostolic Christianity as something separate from the sacrament of baptism, the Orthodox Christian is able to renew his baptismal garments through the sacrament of Confession, through tears of repentance, and the self-sacrifice of martyrdom.  In the sacrament of Confession and through tears of repentance, the sin and filth accumulated since man’s baptismal regeneration is washed away and man may indeed have this experience of being made new once again. 

We see that in Protestantism, particularly among the so-called “charismatic” variety, “born again” terminology is used in a very unscriptural and perverse manner as describing some kind of subjective experience that is totally separate from the sacrament of baptism administered in the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church.  Here we find exemplified the strong gnostic foundation of such contemporary Protestant manifestations.  While an Orthodox Christian may experience the fact of his regeneration through the act of baptism, and may experience this again after baptism through the sacraments of Confession and tears of repentance, he should never go around talking about such an experience and asking others if they have had such an experience, as if such an experience was the kind of litmus test as it has become within some Protestant sects.  The exaltation of private subjective experience, and the promotion of some private subjective experience as if it were such a litmus test, is both gnostic and a sign of spiritual delusion from an Orthodox understanding.  An Orthodox Christian will ask if someone is Orthodox, that is, if they have been regenerated through baptism and made a member of Christ’s body, the Church.  But what one actually “experiences” in baptism and after baptism as they struggle to live a life of repentance in obedience to Christ, is not a subject for public discussion but is to be kept between a person and their spiritual father (typically an Orthodox priest or monk), and subjected to the discernment of the spiritual father. 

It is very easy for man to be deceived by the devil so that he thinks he is regenerated and committed to God when in fact he has never been baptized into the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church and has never received the Holy Spirit through the sacrament of chrismation.  Even if a man appears to produce all the fruits of the Spirit and to be a model of virtue, he may be totally deceived.  From the lives of the saints we have many examples of those who appear virtuous and as possessing every external sign of regenerated Spirit-filled life, while secretly they nurture a hidden pride in thinking that they are already “saved” or somehow have “arrived”.  In such cases, the devil assists them and helps them accomplish their supposed virtue in order to keep the man in delusion.  The man may study the Scriptures and pray constantly, but be cut off totally from the grace of God because of his hidden pride. In such cases, when such a deluded person has been finally unmasked and exposed (usually by a very gifted spiritual father), and the devil has been chased away, the man suddenly may find it almost impossible to accomplish the acts of piety and virtue that he formerly did while in delusion.  For this reason, frequent participation in the sacraments of the Orthodox Church and humble submission to a spiritual father are indispensable for man’s spiritual development according to the will of God.  For this reason also, the Orthodox Church does not exalt any kind of “born again” or other experience as if such a subjective experience ensures that you are on the right path. 
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« Reply #27 on: May 17, 2012, 09:32:47 AM »

Im my former tradition, a "born again" Christian was someone who had been baptized.  Simple as that.
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« Reply #28 on: May 23, 2012, 08:27:40 PM »

This seems to be another one of those catchy phrases you hear in most Evangelical circles. Protestants (and ex-Protestants), what do you understand the "born again experience" to be? What does such an experience entail from a Protestant perspective?

Watch this Roman Catholic talk about the issue here:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qibg-m2vUno (EWTN Live - Protestant Theology - Fr. Mitch Pacwa, S.J. with David Anders - 06-23-2010)


Read what this same Roman Catholic had to say here:
http://www.calledtocommunion.com/2012/03/have-you-been-born-again-catholic-reflections-on-a-protestant-doctrine-or-how-calvins-view-of-salvation-destroyed-his-doctrine-of-the-church/ (“Have you been Born Again? Catholic Reflections on a Protestant Doctrine, or How Calvin’s view of Salvation destroyed his Doctrine of the Church”)



Read what this Baptist had to say here:
http://www.radiomissions.org/sermons/bapprch.html (How and When God Saved a Baptist Preacher
L. R. Shelton, Sr.)


Ok, now watch these PBS videos:
http://www.pbs.org/godinamerica/ (God in America)


Listen to these audios:
http://maxieburch.net/history-theology-courses-info.php?cID=3 (The History of Christianity in America)



If you watched, read, and listened to everything I linked to above then you will have a decent understanding of the issue in question.



In regards to how we feel about it and our views......etc. Well, a number of us went back and forth with David Young some years ago. Check the Archives.
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« Reply #29 on: May 23, 2012, 08:44:44 PM »

Im my former tradition, a "born again" Christian was someone who had been baptized.  Simple as that.

Yeah, I always thought 'of water and the spirit' was pretty clear.  Smiley
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« Reply #30 on: May 24, 2012, 10:53:39 AM »

For me when I was tentatively in the former denomination I was in, being Born Again was a moment where you realized you were a sinner and asked jesus to save you from your sins and to come into your heart and be your personal Lord and Savior.

Usually this is done in emotional distress followed by emotional elation of one kind or another. Although I will say that such a magical prayer does not guarantee salvation (as what is taught by Evangelicals) I do see that it can be a good thing. Being able to realize your own sin is a true sign of humility. it takes a big person to admit they are sinners. However, my problem is the, "If you meant it, you're on your way to heaven no matter what you do."

This is dangerous, and in my personal experience, it has led many folks I know to assume a gnostic point of view where, "Im a member of the kingdom of God, not this world or its rules." Which leads people to do really dishonest things and their conscience is clear.

It also can (not always but it can) give a sense of hubris, and not growing spiritually.

There are alot of very Godly people that believe this, who I firmly believe attained salvation. However, it was not because of this prayer, but the willingness to submit and obey God.


However, far too often hyper-emotionalism is thought to be, and is often substituted for true spirituality. This experience can be no different.

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« Reply #31 on: May 25, 2012, 03:10:16 PM »

1) a moment where you realized you were a sinner and asked Jesus to save you from your sins and to come into your heart and be your personal Lord and Savior.

2) "If you meant it, you're on your way to heaven no matter what you do."

3) it was not because of this prayer, but the willingness to submit and obey God.

1) Let me look at it like this. You say - erroneously, I believe, but that is not important for this particular past - that a person is born again when he is baptised as an infant. I said (many posts above) that there are plenty of Evangelicals who have been brought up in Christian homes, never doubted the truths they were taught, but reach a point where they know that they consciously believe in Christ as the risen Son of God, trust him as Saviour, and wish to follow him as Lord. Now, you say the first lot are born again; I say the second lot are born again. But even in your scenario, there must surely come a time when a person who was baptised in infancy knows that he consciously believes in Christ as the risen Son of God, trusts him as Saviour, and wishes to follow him as Lord. Isn't that moment the same as what is called on this thread call "the born again experience"? For remember: this post is not about being born again, but about how or when one experiences it.

2) I have never heard that in England or Wales, except perhaps from one American Baptist.

3) This is what we also teach.
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« Reply #32 on: May 25, 2012, 03:15:51 PM »

Quote
1) Let me look at it like this. You say - erroneously, I believe, but that is not important for this particular past - that a person is born again when he is baptised as an infant. I said (many posts above) that there are plenty of Evangelicals who have been brought up in Christian homes, never doubted the truths they were taught, but reach a point where they know that they consciously believe in Christ as the risen Son of God, trust him as Saviour, and wish to follow him as Lord. Now, you say the first lot are born again; I say the second lot are born again. But even in your scenario, there must surely come a time when a person who was baptised in infancy knows that he consciously believes in Christ as the risen Son of God, trusts him as Saviour, and wishes to follow him as Lord. Isn't that moment the same as what is called on this thread call "the born again experience"? For remember: this post is not about being born again, but about how or when one experiences it
Im not doubting what you said I was simply conveying what I was taught and that many American Evangelicals believe still to this day.

Quote
2) I have never heard that in England or Wales, except perhaps from one American Baptist
This is HUGE here in America. So huge in fact they are a legitimate political bloc.


Quote
3) This is what we also teach.
That is what I contend as well.


PP
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« Reply #33 on: May 25, 2012, 03:47:00 PM »

This is HUGE here in America.

I'm coming to realise that. It seems weird.
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« Reply #34 on: May 25, 2012, 03:50:59 PM »

This is HUGE here in America.

I'm coming to realise that. It seems weird.
It is weird. So basically, if you went to a evangelical baptist church which are literally on almost every street corner, they would say you are not a Christian and not saved.

Congratulations Smiley

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« Reply #35 on: May 25, 2012, 04:48:38 PM »

a evangelical baptist church... would say you are not a Christian and not saved.

I have often wondered what they would in fact say! My friend here (from Southern California) says I would not be acceptable in the churches of his circles in the States (though he has me preach in his church here in Wales). On the other hand, American Baptists working as missionaries in Albania seem much more accepting, and we have always got on well, in mutual respect, acceptance and co-operation.
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« Reply #36 on: May 25, 2012, 08:48:17 PM »

Ya know, I wonder if that "saved always saved" is a more Southern attitude?  I've never encountered it where I'm at but maybe that's just the churches I've been in. Anyone else frrom the upper mid-west seen OSAS up this way?
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« Reply #37 on: May 26, 2012, 05:17:02 AM »

Ya know, I wonder if that "saved always saved" is a more Southern attitude? 

Sorry to interrupt (not being in the mid West!  Wink). It has always been standard Calvinist (and I believe Augustinian) doctrine; the odd thing about your Southern types is that they seem to be Arminians in every other respect.
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« Reply #38 on: May 26, 2012, 11:04:01 AM »

You may be in the midwest part of somewhere.  Wink  Maybe it is just the company I keep, Churches I've been part of, but I only even know one Calvinist personally and other than facebook that's been awhile. That's why I was curious and to rather or not these Calvinest churches were geographically concentrated.
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« Reply #39 on: May 26, 2012, 11:31:08 AM »

One book that might be of interest to the brethren is Did You Receive the Spirit?  Of particular interest is Fr Tugwell's discussion of how some of the ascetics and contemplatives have viewed the experience and manifestation of the Holy Spirit.  As I recall (it's been 30 years since I read the book), of particular interest here are the Macarian homilies, St Mark the Monk, and St Symeon the New Theologian.  How does the gift that one has been given in Holy Baptism become "activated" in the life of the believer?   It is not enough to know by hearsay that we have been baptized.  God desires that we may know the presence and work of the Spirit in our lives.  This may not be the "born again" experience of the Baptists, but perhaps it's somewhat analogous. 

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« Reply #40 on: May 26, 2012, 11:32:49 AM »

Ya know, I wonder if that "saved always saved" is a more Southern attitude? 

Sorry to interrupt (not being in the mid West!  Wink). It has always been standard Calvinist (and I believe Augustinian) doctrine; the odd thing about your Southern types is that they seem to be Arminians in every other respect.

you believe that Augustine taught "once saved always saved"?
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« Reply #41 on: May 26, 2012, 11:33:24 AM »

Ya know, I wonder if that "saved always saved" is a more Southern attitude?  I've never encountered it where I'm at but maybe that's just the churches I've been in. Anyone else frrom the upper mid-west seen OSAS up this way?

it's part and parcel of Southern Baptist doctrine, if that says anything Wink
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« Reply #42 on: May 26, 2012, 01:45:16 PM »

you believe that Augustine taught "once saved always saved"?

He's not one of my 'heroes', and I haven't read him; but so many books refer to his beliefs that I have read about him a fair amount, and I get the impression he believed in total depravity, unconditional election, particular redemption, irresistible grace, and the eternal perseverance of the elect (or eternal security, whatever you wish to call it). If I am wrong, it would be no big deal for me, as he is not really part of my mental furniture.
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« Reply #43 on: May 26, 2012, 01:46:51 PM »

It is not enough to know by hearsay that we have been baptized.  God desires that we may know the presence and work of the Spirit in our lives. 

Amen to that. We say the same - though of course ours would have been baptised when they knew about it.
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« Reply #44 on: May 26, 2012, 02:49:22 PM »

you believe that Augustine taught "once saved always saved"?

See these two brief articles by Phillip Cary on St Augustine:

Augustine on Justification

Augustine and the Varieties of Monergism

As you will see, Augustine differs from his later Reformed interpreters in a couple of critical ways.  He definitely did not believe "once justified, always justified."  He did not believe that all the justified would be saved.  Of course, there remains Augustine's belief in unconditional election, which means that those who persevere in faith and repentance and find final salvation do so only by the grace of God, but Augustine also denied that one can have certainty of one's final salvation, apart from special revelation. 
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