"Born Again" Christians Just As Likely to BE LIKE and DO As Non-Christians
- "Born again Christians" were defined in these surveys as people who said they have made "a personal commitment to Jesus Christ that is still important in their life today" and who also indicated they believe that when they die they will go to Heaven because they had confessed their sins and had accepted Jesus Christ as their savior. Respondents were not asked to describe themselves as "born again." Being classified as "born again" is not dependent upon church or denominational affiliation or involvement.
The same kind of statistics are given by Ron Sider in his book The Scandal of the Evangelical Conscience: Why Are Christians Living Just Like the Rest of the World? and by Mark Regnerus in his book Forbidden Fruit: Sex and Religion in the Lives of American Teenagers.
What I am picking up on here is precisely the term "born again." The Barna Group in particular uses it in reporting their research. So that report is titled "Born Again Christians
- Just As Likely to Divorce As Are Non-Christians." Sider uses the word "evangelicals" but points out the same kind of thing: "Only 9 percent of evangelicals tithe. Of 12,000 teenagers who took the pledge to wait for marriage, 80% had sex outside marriage in the next 7 years. Twenty-six percent of traditional evangelicals do not think premarital sex is wrong. White evangelicals are more likely than Catholics and mainline Protestants to object to having black neighbors."
In other words, the evangelical, the Christians, (of all branches) church as a whole in America is seemingly not very dissimilar to the world. It goes to church on Sunday and has a enamel of religion, but its religion is basically an add-on to the same way of life the world lives, not a radically transforming power.
A Profound Mistake
Now I want to say blaring and clear that when the Barna Group uses term "born again" to characterize American church-goers whose lives are interchangeable from the world, and who sin as much as the world, and sacrifice for others as little as the world, and incorporate injustice as readily as the world, and covet things as greedily as the world, and enjoy God-ignoring entertainment as enthusiastically as the world—when the term "born again" is used to describe these professing Christians, the Barna Group is making a profound mistake.
- It is using the biblical term "born again" in a way that would make it unrecognizable by Jesus and the biblical writers.
Note the definition that the researcher use for those who are said to be "born again."
- In other words, in this research the term "born again" refers to people who say things. They say, "I have a personal commitment to Jesus Christ. It’s important to me." They say, "I believe that I will go to heaven when I die. I have confessed my sins and accepted Jesus Christ as my Savior."
- Then the Barna Group takes them at their word, ascribes to them the infinitely important reality of the new birth, and then blasphemes that precious biblical reality by saying that regenerate hearts have no more victory over sin than unregenerate hearts.
For years in my preaching/teaching, I have said, those who are born again, have a different point of view then those who are not born again. Yes Christians, born again people do get a divorce. By point in this series of articles is: ARE BORN AGAIN CHRISTIANS JUST LIKE THOSE WHO ARE NOT CHRISTIANS IN THEIR BEHAVIOR AND ATTTITUDE?
How does the Scripture describe a "born again" person?
I’m not saying their research is wrong. It appears to be right. I am not saying that the church is not as worldly as they say it is. .
I am saying that the writers of the New Testament think in exactly the opposite direction about being born again. Instead of moving from a profession of faith, to the label "born again," to the worldliness of these so-called born again people, to the conclusion that the new birth does not radically change people, the New Testament moves the other direction. It moves from the absolute certainty that the new birth radically changes people, to the observation that many professing Christians are indeed (as the Barna Group says) not radically changed, to the conclusion that they are not born again. The New Testament, unlike the Barna Group, does not defile the new birth with the worldliness of unregenerate, professing American Christians.
We will review what the New Testament means by "born again."