Identifying as born-again when asked about religion

I found out that some protestants here will say “I’m a born-again” instead of saying their actual religion name when asked “What’s your religion?” Why do they do that and Catholics don’t?

In America, “born-again Christian” has become shorthand for something that approximates an adherent of Protestant evangelicalism. The reason is that evangelicals put a high premium on conscious conversion as a sign of becoming a Christian, so they often ask things like “have you been born-again.”

I suppose that’s why other Christians don’t use the term to identify what kind of Christian they are because it has become in the public imagination so identified with one type of Christian.

I don’t think that is true for all Protestants, just the Evangelicals who sum up their teaching with “getting saved”. Though they seem to be the majority of American Protestants.

Lutherans and Episcopalians believe they are “saved” when they are baptized, usually as small children/infants.

Catholic’s believe in salvation through Baptism thus Gods Grace, it is a new birth, and all the Sacraments of the Church. I guess its fair to say Born Again Christians have a different understanding of the Church and we agree.

When someone asks me if I’m ‘born-again’, I say ‘yes’ and toss the ball back into their court. :slight_smile:

Has to do with thinking “You must be born again” meaning baptism and the notion that baptism is only done past the age of reason/adult. They tend to view things as non denom. Once saved always saved. So as long as you said “I belived” and got dunked under the water after the age of reason you are saved. If not then you are not.

Catholics, in their thinking, are not born again thus are not saved and likewise, lutherans, anglicans, some presbyterians so on and so forth.

There is also a semi-recent development within the Evangelical community about Christianity not being a “religion”, but a relationship. And while they are right that being a Christian involves having a relationship with God, by the definition of what a religion is (a set of beliefs and practices of a faith), Christianity is most certainly a religion. They will typically define religion as a faith that involves “working” for your salvation, which is an incorrect definition of religion. Thus, rather than say that their religion is either Protestant or Evangelical Christianity (or Non-Catholic Christian, or Lutheran, or what-have-you), they choose to say “Born-Again” or “I am Born Again”. Though, some might do it as a matter of being a part of the “Born-Again” Christian community as a religion, rather than objecting to the title of Christianity as a religion.

hopefully that made sense

Actually, many “born again Christians” do not believe that baptism equals being born again. Baptism is obedience to Christ’s commandment and symbolic of death and life in Christ for the new believer. Being “born again” is exclusively equated with a conscious conversion experience, a “come to Jesus moment”. It has nothing to do with water. Water baptism is symbolic of that born again experience.

Actually, “once save, always saved” Christians are only one type of “born-again” Christians. Plenty of “born agains” believe it is possible to fall away. And its not just “believing” but being converted. They are two different things.

Not all “born agains” believe that. It’s quite possible to be all those things and still be born again. You can be an evangelical Lutheran, Anglican or Presbyterian. In fact, you can even be an evangelical and a Catholic.

I would normally say I’m Christian, or a Christ-follower (same meaning, less baggage, better conversation starter).

I wouldn’t say “born-again” because I think I already covered that by saying Christian… and if by that someone means “conservative evangelical Christian”, well, no, I’m not that. I deliberately ditched conservative evangelicalism for the mainline because of cultural and political differences.

Nor do I normally give my denominational affiliation (TEC & ELCA) unless specifically asked or the context makes it important. “Christian” is usually sufficient.

Perfect response!

The follow up question is usually, “what church do you belong to?”

Opens up an opportunity for great dialogue. Had this happen to me similarly not too long ago.

If I may…

It’s helpful to cite an article, or mainly in your case bible verses and/or church doctrine when stating your argument.

I picked out two scriptures that explain what we should do for the hope of salvation.

Mark 16:16 Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.


John 15:15 “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.

We receive the Holy Spirit when we are baptized. Jesus Christ baptizes us with the HOLY SPIRIT though the Waters of our Baptism. The water is NOT symbolic. Just as the Eucharist is not symbolic of Jesus body. We believe this because Jesus said so… Jesus commanded to His disciples that they baptized everyone not because it is optional or symbolic but because the water is sanctifying our beliefs and making them Holy… And Jesus did many many water baptisms himself and thus putting the spirit of God in them through the water baptisms. The HOLY SPIRIT of God COMES with THE Baptismal water. WHen you think about it what is the first thing fundamentalist does when they have conversion experience is they are baptized. (and receive the saving grace of baptism)

Matthew 3:16 And when Jesus had been baptized, just as he came up from the water, suddenly the heavens were opened to him and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him.

None of that says we must be baptized later in life, unless of course our parents don’t baptize us as infants and bring us up into the faith, rather the parents of fundamentalists choose to wait till a child on their own decide to reject sin and believe and be baptized on their own.

Of course the concern about, from the top of my head, that is,

  1. The child doesn’t have the sanctifying grace received from his baptism to help him or her form his faith to begin with.
  2. The child who moves into adulthood never gets baptized at all because of becoming wrapped up in the temptations of life.
  3. We would be potentially blocking children from coming to Jesus freely if we don’t baptize them with the graces of Baptism.
  4. They’ve not had original sin, or inclination to sin, removed from them through the washing of the water by Jesus.

Our Faith and our hope of Salvation should be evident by our works and not because of a conversion experience, although that’s wonderfly felt and something a person should experience in their lives in perfecting and building up their faith, not once, but often, even every day. Hope of Salvation assured In keeping with John 15:15 up there. If we love Jesus we must keep His commandments.

Adding if I didn’t make it clear there…:)…We are born again through our Baptism… That’s when the spirit of God comes down upon us.

John 3:5 Jesus answered, “Very truly, I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit.

I say “yes, a month and a day after my birth, when I was Baptized.”


I’m not arguing anything. I’m not describing the soteriology of the Gospel of John or Paul’s Letter to the Romans. I’m describing the varieties of “born-again” Christians.

I don’t need to cite anything, because as I born again Christian I don’t believe that baptism saves and I don’t believe in once saved always saved. I **do **believe that Lutherans, Anglicans, Presbyterians, and Catholics can be saved just like born again Christians can be saved. I’m not trying to prove that from scripture, I’m just letting people know that not all born again Christians believe what bitznbitez has presented.

I don’t need a Bible verse or a scholarly article to cite as an authority for what born again Christians believe. I am a life-long born again Christian raised in a strongly born again Christian household firmly rooted in a born again Christian church. How’s that for a citation?

Ive also met a “Born Again” recently He said he is no longer member of his church community (Mar Thoma Christian). He knows Im a Catholic (met him through a friend who Im guiding to become Catholic it so happens) , and then tells me he believes in a personal relationship with Jesus. When I said “So do Catholics” he just gave me blank stare. :shrug:

The subject matter changed after that. Oh well.

Yes, Catholics can be called “Born Again” :smiley:


I’ll clarify my post.

*I found out that some protestants here will say “I’m a born-again” instead of saying their actual religion name when asked “What’s your religion?” Why do they do that and Catholics don’t? *

Here, maybe I need to say, what “church” instead like “Lutheran”, “Methodist” and “Mormon”. I guess saying religion is too general.

Well, I think for most Protestants, denomination is not central to their religious identify. If someone asks my religion, what comes to mind is “Christian”. I belong to a church that has both Episcopal (TEC) and Lutheran (ELCA) affiliations, and I don’t mind telling anyone that if they ask about it, but I could attend a lot of different churches without changing a thing that I believe. I could even be Catholic, though I’m not convinced I ought to be, since I don’t believe the Catholic claims to being something special. To me, the important thing is that I’m a follower of Jesus the Messiah, not of any earthly hierarchy.

Let me ask you then ldz. So why be baptized? And What identifies you as a born again Christian? I realize it’s a common belief among ‘born again’ Christians (which we all are) but fundamentalists who say they are born again (because of a conversion of their heart), and that water baptism doesn’t save, And why would anyone be baptized if they didn’t think it saved them and was just plain water or symbolic of being born into Jesus life and death?

My thoughts, also not quoting scripture or doctrine but what I’ve come to understand from listening and learning and praying, would be that our baptism, as requirement by Jesus, would mark the beginning of our Christian life and a sacrament of Jesus forgiving and removing any sin and giving us the grace we need to go on in our spiritual Christian life. And we can start that from infancy. It makes us a child of God and it is done with witnesses around them welcoming that person into the family of God. I don’t believe Jesus felt it was symbolic when he was baptized in the Jordan river. He did it for a reason, just as we do. And we do as Jesus does, Catholics base their religion on following in the footsteps of Jesus and the Apostles. Jesus was baptized at the start of his ministry and commanded disciples to baptize others.

I think sometimes, that there is some kind of confusion. People believe that by their acceptance of Jesus, the deal is done. And it probably is because Gods grace is always there for the taking, but when we accept Jesus, we’re accepting the grace and the Holy Spirit starts working in our lives, whether it is known or not, grace comes from God. The grace that comes from Jesus through the sacrament of baptism helps us. I couldn’t imagine any ‘born again’ Christian not being baptized …And when we are baptized we start our Christian lives, separate and apart from the rest of the world. We are born into life when we are born, and born into our spiritual life, at our baptism thus ‘born again’. I think that is the one sacrament that all Christians believe is required of them and connects us as a family of God (we are brothers and sisters). So there is power in knowing that we are connected by this sacrament that Jesus told us to do. So actually it is a practice of religion because it connects us to each other as part of Gods family. Just as you are part of the spiritual family of God. Jesus is Gods Son, and we are children of God who belong to a Christian family.

Re-‘lig- ion The word religion comes from the latin root word "lig’ or tie together… Think of the word lig-ament. The bands that ‘tie’ musle to bone. So by virtue of our baptism we are tied together and to God as a family of God. Christians are baptized…!

I have struggled to come to understand this myself, because I had my own powerful conversion experience about 7 years ago. But I look back and see how God has always worked in my life since my baptism. We all grow in our faith and those little mustard seeds of faith blossoms into a plant larger than any.

With all do respect, this is an Internet forum. Specifically a Catholic Internet forum under a non-catholic religion thread. Inguaging in dialogue over theology, philosophy, etc. is inevitable. You made a claim, I simply asked to see citation or scripture to back up your case. That’s all.

By the way, I was born and raised Pentecostal. I still have family that is Pentecostal. This isn’t a me vs. you thing or an us vs. them thing. It comes down to, one of us is right and one of us is wrong. I’m simply here to spread the truth of God’s word and his Church.

God bless.

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