Have you been born again? This question resonates from church service to church service weekly. From variant groups ranging from the Latter Day Saints to the Modern Day Modalists this question has been asked. “Have you been Born Again?’ But what does it mean to be “Born Again?” And how does one achieve such a state? Some would tell you that it refers to being water baptized. Some go even further and say that this water baptism must be performed specifically in “the name of Jesus” to have merit, leading one to ask the logical question; “who’s name was Jesus Baptized in then?” And “Why was he baptized at all?” He didn’t need to be born again.
As far-fetched as these questions sound, they are reasonable in light of how the requirements for a biblical New Birth have been defined by those who are prone to teach experiences rather than experience teaching. Because of them, the “simplicity of Christ” has been corrupted. The Apostle Paul put it this way:
But I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be
corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. For if he who comes preaches another Jesus
whom we have not preached, or if you receive a different spirit which you have not received,
or a different gospel which you have not accepted, you may well put up with it.
The truth is, being born again has nothing to do with water baptism. And those who would direct others to participate in this rite FOR salvation are guilty of heresy of the highest order.
The purpose in this ARC Perspective is to address this issue with reference to its indications as to how salvation is attained, and who because of these indications can truly lay claim to the title “Christian” from a biblical perspective. Does this appellation rightfully represent those who hold that any true profession of faith can only be tangibly realized in the life of the convert when water baptism is applied at some point in their formula? After all, was not Christ baptized to fulfill all righteousness? And isn’t faith without works dead? Or are the scriptures being twisted by these “to their own destruction?” (II Pet 315, 16)
In addressing this issue I am well aware of the fact that it will rub many the wrong way. So will ask: “Why focus on issues that divide Christians when the is so much in the world we need to unite in confronting?” And “Why seek to offend others who seek to live out the faith before God?” I will seek to answer these, and many other valid questions in the body of this work. However, please understand, it is never my intent by means of this, or any other work that flows from my hand to offend. It is never my intention to injure, only to inform. The offense felt is built into the word as it is written, and in mankind’s reaction to it. The Apostle Peter put it this way:
Therefore, to you who believe, He is precious; but to those who are disobedient, "The stone
which the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone,'' and "A stone of stumbling and a
rock of offense.'' They stumble, being disobedient to the word, to which they also were appointed.
(I Peter 2:7,8; emphasis mine)
As believers, we are commanded to “have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them.” (Eph 5:11) For far too long the line of demarcation between the Kingdom of God and the kingdom of the cults has been systematically distorted. Sound doctrine has been replaced by staunch dogma as the plumb line of what God’s truth is. Entertaining Events have replaced Earnest Evangelism as a method to draw people. Consider the words of warning spoken by the Apostle Paul as recorded in 2 Timothy 4:2:
"For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their
own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching
ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths."1
In fulfillment of this prophecy, many today prefer to be taught experiences (myths), rather than to experience teaching (God’s Word). One can turn to pretty much all of what is identified as “Christian programming” today and find the most outrageous myths being presented before massive congregations who hang on every word with the promise that these types of experiences can be theirs if they continue to donate their time, talent and treasure to the coffers of these charlatans.
Because the Church has been lulled into such a place of complacency whereas no myth, dogma or heresy is ever challenged; and where the “Teaching of Experiences” has replaced “Experiencing Teaching” as the means of equipping the saints for ministry, the kingdom of the cults has breached the gates. Old heresies are repackaged and resold into the Body of Christ through the gaping gateway of experiential theology; which brings us back to the topic of this ARC Perspective: Have YOU been Born Again?” What does the scriptures say? What purpose does this function play in the spiritual life of the believer? Can one even be called a believer apart from participating in it? Is it true that water that the waters involved in this are efficacious to remove one’s sins?
While the information in this work may be used with reference to the subject of “baptismal regeneration” as taught by groups ranging from the Roman Catholic Church to the International Churches of Christ, my focus here concerns this ordinance as it pertains to the 3 step salvation process of the Modern Day Modalist. May our God guide us in illuminating His Word.
The Apologetic Research Center