Being “Born Again” Becomes Popular
“REBIRTH IS RAMPANT.” Thus was headed a press dispatch from Los Angeles that appeared in the New York Post of May 19, 1980. The dispatch went on to state: “More than half of all adult Americans have had a lasting ‘born-again’ Christian religious experience, an upcoming Gallup Poll reports. The data . . . shows that 84 million adult Americans have made a personal commitment to Jesus Christ that they still consider relevant.” Some time before this a survey reported that nearly half of American Protestant teenagers “had a ‘born again’ experience.” The weekly Parade of July 6, 1980, said that all three United States presidential candidates at that time, Carter, Reagan and Anderson, professed to be “born again” Christians.
“Born again” Christians at times attribute their success in the business world to their having been born again. One extremely successful New York executive is reported to have said: “You open yourself to the Lord and the Lord helps. At one time, when I had to buy Bonwit Teller, I was $2.5 million short and I didn’t know how to get it. It was completely a miracle. And the same thing happened when I purchased Tiffany and I was $1 million short.” In an article entitled “‘Born Again’ Ballplayers on Increase,” a dispatch from San Francisco told of more and more baseball players claiming to have been born again and quoted several of the ballplayers who attributed their success to having been born again. One of these stated: “I don’t get interviewed much, so I’d like to take this opportunity to give credit to Jesus Christ. He is No. 1 in my life.” Another stated that it is “so much easier to play the game of baseball, as well as the game of life, when you have God as your partner.”
Then again, a report on the financial success of “The Electric Church” said: “Religious Broadcasting Becomes Big Business, Spreading Across U.S. Born-Again Christians Foot Most of Bills for Shows: Success of Jerry Falwell. Aim: ‘Hearts and Pocketbooks.’”—The Wall Street Journal.
However, not all religionists in Christendom are happy over this trend. Thus the New York Times stated that ‘Presbyterians were split on the evangelical role and that the influence of “Born Again” groups was being debated by their denomination.’ Some stigmatized this trend as being mere emotionalism, and one seminary professor complained that “too many students were simply unteachable” because of their “born again” attitude. In one seminary about half of the students professed to have been born again.
In general the opinion is that being “born again” is synonymous with a person’s making a “commitment” to serve God and Christ, which is the way prominent evangelists present the matter. This raises some questions: Jesus said that the road leading off to life was narrow and difficult and that few would be the ones finding it. (Matthew 7:13, 14) He also repeatedly stated that his followers were no part of the world. (John 15:19; 17:16) How can these words of his be harmonized with the claim that over half of the adult population in the U.S. have had a “born again” experience? Nor is that all. If half of the adult population of a country are “born again” Christians, why is it that there is so much lawlessness, so much crime, so much tax evasion, so much political corruption, so much sexual immorality, so much materialism, so much of the “me-first” attitude? Does the Bible promise success in business ventures to those “born again”? Do God and Christ become partners to baseball players, helping them to win games?
Jesus said to a Jewish ruler, the Pharisee Nicodemus: “Most truly I say to you, Unless anyone is born from water and spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. Do not marvel because I told you, You people must be born again.” (John 3:5, 7) What did Jesus mean by these words? What is Jehovah God’s purpose in having some born again? By what steps is a person born again, and what are the obligations of those born again? Before these questions can be satisfactorily answered, it is necessary to establish certain basic facts as to Jehovah God’s principles and his purposes regarding the earth and man.
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Jesus said to Nicodemus: “You people must be born again”
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‘Few are the ones finding the road to life’