Catholics, Born Again?


It is, again, very interesting that you are pulling this out of my language - I never said that. Please read my post again. Either you are making an assumption - of you are seeing it from scripture.


Joh 8:31 So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, "If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine;

I ask you a question…What was Jesus saying here…

Was he saying:

  1. Do all these things and you will be my disciple? OR…
  2. If you do these things - you already are my disciple.

Please read carefully and respond.


Born from above, born again, born of God…they are all the same. I do not know what more to tell you on this one.


Well I guess that is where we differ. I do not agree with your interpretation.


Let’s take a look at this passage. “If you continue in my word, then you are truly disciples of mine.”

What is His word? It is his teachings. Jesus often spoke in his ministry, “If you love me, obey the commandments.” So he tells us to obey the commandments. He also tell us practice the eight beatitudes in Matthew 5:1. God’s word is everything he taught.

So yes, we are to adhere to everything Jesus taught. Jesus also taught repentance when we sin so we can reconcile ourselves to God.


linkowski, the problem is that your interpretation cannot be correct. nobody interpreted “born again” in the protestant unerstanding but rather in the context of water baptism

Justin Martyr

“As many as are persuaded and believe that what we [Christians] teach and say is true, and undertake to be able to live accordingly, and instructed to pray and to entreat God with fasting, for the remission of their sins that are past, we pray and fast with them. Then they are brought by us where there is water and are regenerated in the same manner in which we were ourselves regenerated. For, in the name of God, the Father . . . and of our Savior Jesus Christ, and of the Holy Spirit [Matt. 28:19], they then receive the washing with water. For Christ also said, ‘Unless you are born again, you shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven’ [John 3:3]” (First Apology 61 [A.D. 151]).


“‘And [Naaman] dipped himself . . . seven times in the Jordan’ [2 Kgs. 5:14]. It was not for nothing that Naaman of old, when suffering from leprosy, was purified upon his being baptized, but [this served] as an indication to us. For as we are lepers in sin, we are made clean, by means of the sacred water and the invocation of the Lord, from our old transgressions, being spiritually regenerated as newborn babes, even as the Lord has declared: ‘Except a man be born again through water and the Spirit, he shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven’” (Fragment 34 [A.D. 190]).


“[N]o one can attain salvation without baptism, especially in view of the declaration of the Lord, who says, ‘Unless a man shall be born of water, he shall not have life’” (Baptism 12:1 [A.D. 203]).


“The Father of immortality sent the immortal Son and Word into the world, who came to man in order to wash him with water and the Spirit; and he, begetting us again to incorruption of soul and body, breathed into us the Spirit of life, and endued us with an incorruptible panoply. If, therefore, man has become immortal, he will also be God. And if he is made God by water and the Holy Spirit after the regeneration of the laver he is found to be also joint-heir with Christ after the resurrection from the dead. Wherefore I preach to this effect: Come, all ye kindreds of the nations, to the immortality of the baptism” (Discourse on the Holy Theophany 8 [A.D. 217]).

i challenge you to find me any church father who taught that “born again” means anything other than water baptism.


What interpretation?


1 John 3:9 Whoever has been born of God does not sin, for His seed remains in him; and he cannot sin, because he has been born of God.

Why do you say that you are being born when it is presented in scripture as being a past event?


We all understand that Christians can be sinners. I don’t really see where that gets us anywhere. Whether you walk the isle or get the water you’re still going to sin. So I’m not sure that everyone is getting where that this is a shock?

When you had your conversion experience that was a period of excitement and a new found closeness to God. I’m not sure how long that would have been for you but assuming it’s been awhile you then began a journey with God. If you’ve tried to grow at all you’ve had your high points and your low points. Times of sin and times of piety. Yet all these things work together and you mature in your relationship with God.

As time goes on you’ll have other conversion experiences and hopefully you’ll grow closer to God. Perhaps (God forbid) your experiences will cause you have grave questions or doubts. Which ever direction you go it doesn’t change where you’ve been.

For a Christian even sin is instructive. However, the lessons you draw from closeness or distance from God are still up to you. With salvation God is giving you a connection to Him and His Holy Spirit which will allow you to be able to see things for what they are. Through wisdom and conviction God can instruct you in all of your paths. Yet you ultimately still decide what to do with that knowledge.

When young Hebrew children were born back in the day they received the circumcision. This made them part of the covenant yet it did not guarantee that they would follow the Law or obtain its promises. At eight days old that little Jewish boy could grow up to be a thug or prophet but he was still part of the covenant. When he died he could join the bosom of Abraham or he could languish in the Grave. It was all up to him but at anytime all he had to do claim the promise of the covenant was to love God and follow the Law.

Now we a new covenant. We no longer have to speak to God through prophets or sacrifices Our Lord Jesus Christ took that position for us. He is our High Priest, sacrificial lamb, scape goat, mediator, passover and King. We join into this covenant (at His command) by baptism. Once we enter into this covenant we have many aids to help us. The angels, The Church, The faithful (living and dead), The Bible, The Eucharist (passover) and most importantly the Holy Spirit.

Our allies are many and mighty yet in the end it is up to us to take advantage of these Graces and gifts. At any time we can chose to walk away. In the end we can be knave, average Joe or Saint it is up to us, God has simply given us every chance to succeed.


If I am a person who is inquiring about this matter in the sense that it is one of the major hurdles for me in returning to the Catholic Church…no one has addressed this issue to a degree that would come at all close to my satisfaction. In fact, most have ignored this serious problem between Catholic teaching and the staements in 1 John and elsewhere. Anymore help besides this?


[quote=Dallas Catholic]Umm, no I did not “read it from the scriptures” since it isn’t in the scriptures. I was referring to YOUR interpretation. The only person born of God is Jesus Christ. Since you admit that those who have been baptized can still sin, then I do not understand what you are asking.

You’re quibbling.

[quote=Dallas Catholic]Well I guess that is where we differ. I do not agree with your interpretation.

John 3:5 5

Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.Will you agree with the Apostle that God loved?


Wow. Link I think that only you are seeing a serious problem here. First off it is important to note that this sermon was written for Christians to be able to discern a particular early gnostic heresy that was gaining ground. The extreme language (which you’ve already acknowledged can’t be meant in a strictly literal sense) is to point out differences between a non-Christian Gnostic gospel and the true Church.

John was pointing out that the behaviour of particular heretical group. This group claimed that they were unable to sin and yet their lives clearly showed that they were in fact very sinful. The book also confirms the behavior of a teacher of the True Gospel. This groups heresies included denial of Christ’s humanity, denial of His attoning death and denial of His oneness with the Father.


You are side-stepping the issue.


You are just ignoring the Catholic concept of being born again.




Why do you bother then come here? Are you here to understand or convert us?

Because many of the Catholics here are not convince by your concept of being Born Again. Many of the Catholics here are extremely devout to the Blessed Sacrament, and they will not easily leave Jesus for your false doctrines.

The Catholic Church does acknowledge that we are born again. Through our baptism we are born anew. Peter is his Epistles said, “Baptism now saves you.”

John 1:32 - when Jesus was baptized, He was baptized in the water and the Spirit, which descended upon Him in the form of a dove. The Holy Spirit and water are required for baptism. Also, Jesus’ baptism was not the Christian baptism He later instituted. Jesus’ baptism was instead a royal anointing of the Son of David (Jesus) conferred by a Levite (John the Baptist) to reveal Christ to Israel, as it was foreshadowed in 1 Kings 1:39 when the Son of David (Solomon) was anointed by the Levitical priest Zadok. See John 1:31; cf. Matt. 3:16; Mark 1:9; Luke 3:21.

John 3:3,5 - Jesus says, “Truly, truly, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.” When Jesus said “water and the Spirit,” He was referring to baptism (which requires the use of water, and the work of the Spirit).

John 3:22 - after teaching on baptism, John says Jesus and the disciples did what? They went into Judea where the disciples baptized. Jesus’ teaching about being reborn by water and the Spirit is in the context of baptism.

John 4:1 - here is another reference to baptism which naturally flows from Jesus’ baptismal teaching in John 3:3-5.

Acts 8:36 – the eunuch recognizes the necessity of water for his baptism. Water and baptism are never separated in the Scriptures.

Acts 10:47 - Peter says “can anyone forbid water for baptizing these people…?” The Bible always links water and baptism.

Acts 22:16 – Ananias tells Saul, “arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins.” The “washing away” refers to water baptism.

Titus 3:5-6 – Paul writes about the “washing of regeneration,” which is “poured out on us” in reference to water baptism. “Washing” (loutron) generally refers to a ritual washing with water.

Heb. 10:22 – the author is also writing about water baptism in this verse. “Having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.” Our bodies are washed with pure water in water baptism.

2 Kings 5:14 - Naaman dipped himself seven times in the Jordan, and his flesh was restored like that of a child. This foreshadows the regenerative function of baptism, by water and the Holy Spirit.

Isaiah 44:3 - the Lord pours out His water and His Spirit. Water and the Spirit are linked to baptism. The Bible never separates them.

Ezek. 36:25-27 - the Lord promises He will sprinkle us with water to cleanse us from sin and give us a new heart and spirit. Paul refers to this verse in Heb. 10:22. The teaching of Ezekiel foreshadows the salvific nature of Christian baptism instituted by Jesus and taught in John 3:5, Titus 3:5, 1 Peter 3:21 and Acts 22:16.


II. Baptism is Salvific, Not Just Symbolic
Matt. 28:19-20 - Jesus commands the apostles to baptize all people “in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.” Many Protestant churches are now teaching that baptism is only a symbolic ritual, and not what actually cleanses us from original sin. This belief contradicts Scripture and the 2,000 year-old teaching of the Church.

Acts 2:38 - Peter commands them to repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ in order to be actually forgiven of sin, not just to partake of a symbolic ritual.

Matt. 28:19-20; Acts 2:38 - there is nothing in these passages or elsewhere in the Bible about baptism being symbolic. There is also nothing about just accepting Jesus as personal Lord and Savior in order to be saved.

Mark 16:16 - Jesus said “He who believes AND is baptized will be saved.” Jesus says believing is not enough. Baptism is also required. This is because baptism is salvific, not just symbolic. The Greek text also does not mandate any specific order for belief and baptism, so the verse proves nothing about a “believer’s baptism.”

John 3:3,5 - unless we are “born again” of water and Spirit in baptism, we cannot enter into the kingdom of God. The Greek word for the phrase “born again” is “anothen” which literally means “begotten from above.” See, for example, John 3:31 where “anothen” is so used. Baptism brings about salvation, not just a symbolism of our salvation.

Acts 8:12-13; 36; 10:47 - if belief is all one needs to be saved, why is everyone instantly baptized after learning of Jesus?

Acts 16:15; 31-33; 18:8; 19:2,5 - these texts present more examples of people learning of Jesus, and then immediately being baptized. If accepting Jesus as personal Lord and Savior is all one needs to do to be saved, then why does everyone in the early Church immediately seek baptism?

Acts 9:18 - Paul, even though he was directly chosen by Christ and immediately converted to Christianity, still had to be baptized to be forgiven his sin. This is a powerful text which demonstrates the salvific efficacy of water baptism, even for those who decide to give their lives to Christ.

Acts 22:16 - Ananias tells Paul, “arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins,” even though Paul was converted directly by Jesus Christ. This proves that Paul’s acceptance of Jesus as personal Lord and Savior was not enough to be forgiven of his sin and saved. The sacrament of baptism is required.

Acts 22:16 - further, Ananias’ phrase “wash away” comes from the Greek word “apolouo.” “Apolouo” means an actual cleansing which removes sin. It is not a symbolic covering up of sin. Even though Jesus chose Paul directly in a heavenly revelation, Paul had to be baptized to have his sins washed away.

Rom. 6:4 - in baptism, we actually die with Christ so that we, like Him, might be raised to newness of life. This means that, by virtue of our baptism, our sufferings are not in vain. They are joined to Christ and become efficacious for our salvation.

1 Cor. 6:11 - Paul says they were washed, sanctified, and justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, in reference to baptism. The “washing” of baptism gives birth to sanctification and justification, which proves baptism is not just symbolic.

Gal. 3:27 - whoever is baptized in Christ puts on Christ. Putting on Christ is not just symbolic. Christ actually dwells within our soul.

Col. 2:12 - in baptism, we literally die with Christ and are raised with Christ. It is a supernatural reality, not just a symbolic ritual. The Scriptures never refer to baptism as symbolic.


Tradition / Church Fathers

I. “Born Again” Means Water Baptism

For Christ also said, ‘Except ye be born again, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.’ Now, that it is impossible for those who have once been born to enter into their mothers’ wombs, is manifest to all. And how those who have sinned and repent shall escape their sins, is declared by Esaias the prophet, as I wrote above; he thus speaks: 'Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from your souls; learn to do well…And though your sins be as scarlet, I will make them white like wool; and though they be as crimson, I will make them white as snow…And for this [rite] we have learned from the apostles this reason. Since at our birth we were born without our own knowledge or choice, by our parents coming together, and were brought up in bad habits and wicked training; in order that we may not remain the children of necessity and of ignorance, but may become the children of choice and knowledge, and may obtain in the water the remission of sins formerly committed, there is pronounced over him who chooses to be born again, and has repented of his sins, the name of God the Father and Lord of the universe; he who leads to the layer the person that is to be washed calling him by this name alone…And this washing is called illumination, because they who learn these things are illuminated in their understandings. And in the name of Jesus Christ, who was crucified under Pontius Pilate, and in the name of the Holy Ghost, who through the prophets foretold all things about Jesus, he who is illuminated is washed." Justin Martyr, First Apology, 61 (A.D. 110-165).

“Moreover, the things proceeding from the waters were blessed by God, that this also might be a sign of men’s being destined to receive repentance and remission of sins, through the water and laver of regeneration,–as many as come to the truth, and are born again, and receive blessing from God.” Theopilus of Antioch, To Autolycus, 2:16 (A.D. 181).

" ‘And dipped himself,’ says [the Scripture], ‘seven times in Jordan.’ It was not for nothing that Naaman of old, when suffering from leprosy, was purified upon his being baptized, but it served as an indication to us. For as we are lepers in sin, we are made clean, by means of the sacred water and the invocation of the Lord, from our old transgressions; being spiritually regenerated as new-born babes, even as the Lord has declared: ‘Except a man be born again through water and the Spirit, he shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.’" Irenaeus, Fragment, 34 (A.D. 190).

“We are circumcised not with a fleshly circumcision but with the circumcision of Christ, that is, we are born again into a new man; for, being buried with Him in His baptism, we must die to the old man, because the regeneration of baptism has the force of resurrection.” Hilary of Poitiers, Trinity, 9:9 (A.D. 359).

“And with reason; for as we are all from earth and die in Adam, so being regenerated from above of water and Spirit, in the Christ we are all quickened.” Athanasius, Discourse Against the Arians, III:33 (A.D. 360).

“The baptized when they come up are sanctified;–the sealed when they go down are pardoned.—They who come up have put on glory;–they who go down have cast off sin.” Ephraim Syrus, Hymns for the Feast of the Epiphany, 6:9 (ante A.D. 373).

“And in what way are we saved? Plainly because we were regenerate through the grace given in our baptism.” Basil, On the Spirit, 10:26 (A.D. 375).

“This then is what it is to be born again of water and of the Spirit, the being made dead being effected in the water, while our life is wrought in us through the Spirit. In three immersions, then, and with three invocations, the great mystery of baptism is performed, to the end that the type of death may be fully figured, and that by the tradition of the divine knowledge the baptized may have their souls enlightened. It follows that if there is any grace in the water, it is not of the nature of the water, but of the presence of the Spirit.” Basil, On the Spirit, 15:35 (A.D. 375).

“[T]he birth by water and the Spirit, Himself led the way in this birth, drawing down upon the water, by His own baptism, the Holy Spirit; so that in all things He became the first-born of those who are spiritually born again, and gave the name of brethren to those who partook in a birth like to His own by water and the Spirit.” Gregory of Nyssa, Against Eunomius, 2:8 (A.D. 382).


you interpret “born again” to mean something other than waer baptism. but every single christian writer from petecost up until the reformation believed “born again” to mean water baptism, so your conclusion that “born again” refers to a personal perfession of faith cannot be correct since no one believed this for the first 1500 yeas of christianity. Also, the language of 1 john could be considered hyperbolic (meaning exzagerated in order to prove a point) no one can say that they have never sinned as a christian


You’re sidestepping what the Apostle is relating too. The Bible is not a debate team weapon. Soundbite theology, cherry picked verses and “if frogs had wings” scenarios in the end don’t mean anything. They may sound good in fast food apologetics on an internet forum but eventually you have to actually look at what’s happening and what’s being said.

All you’re doing is creating another circular argument. Because in the end I can bring you verses that say that Baptism is required you will ignore them and say that isn’t what they mean I then can feel free to point out incorrect context in your verses. Then where are we at?

The Bible doesn’t contradict itself all of its teachings must be correct. In order to understand what it’s actually saying we have to be willing to put forth the effort to actually understand what each book is getting at and then what all of them together are saying as a whole. Then we have to bother to understand its historical context so that we can accurately apply it to our lives today. Also and I know you will disagree here but it doesn’t hurt to take into consideration what those who lived around those times have to say. If these things inconvenient then I suggest another past time. Because on a Catholic Forum you’re going to get a lot of the above.

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