"Born Again" in John Piper's new book "Finally Alive"

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by annsni, Feb 17, 2009.

  1. annsni

    annsni
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    You can actually download Piper's new book in PDF format from the Desiring God website and I'm looking at it now. I know we discussed the idea of "born again" or "evangelical" when it comes to Barna research (I had posted a link to some of their research that stated that many evangelicals don't believe in hell, or something like that). Here's what Piper has to say about that:

    OK - I just read the copyright stuff and I took out the quote - but go to the book link and download it http://www.desiringgod.org/Store/Books/815_Finally_Alive/

    Read on page 12 from "The Defamation of the Term Born Again" through "A Profound Mistake"

    What are your thoughts? I think Piper TOTALLY pegs it in this book.
     
    #1 annsni, Feb 17, 2009
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  2. webdog

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    As wrong as the Barna reasearch is one one spectrum, Piper is just as wrong on the opposite end. His pre-faith logical order is not biblical, but is systematic in nature.

    Born again means just that, not "born for the first time". Our sin separates us from God, "killing" us...and only God can breathe life back into us, this through the means He has sovereignly decreed...through faith in Christ.
     
    #2 webdog, Feb 17, 2009
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  3. annsni

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    What he talks against in that section of the book is Barna's definition of a "born again" or "evangelical" Christian:

    “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. Respon-
    dents were not asked to describe themselves as “born again.”
    Being classified as “born again” is not dependent upon
    church or denominational affiliation or involvement.


    But what that's describing is honestly what a lot of people can say who know nothing about being truly regenerated by the Lord. I guess it's hard to be sure we're talking of the same thing - asking someone "are you saved" or "are you a Christian" is hard because of definitions being different. I wonder if you really CAN make a true survey of true believers and those who are not. How do you really capture a true "born again" in words?
     
  4. Allan

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    That is actaully quite simple. If one is born-again it is literally refering to one who is saved.

    Thus the real issue is about giving people the real meaning of what salvation is and therefore giving them the true gospel and not a corrupted/false gospel message. Salvation is about placing your faith in Christ Jesus as well as His finished work because of the work of God through His conviction of our sins. Anything added to it is a false gospel of works which Paul stood resolutely against in Galations, which was trying to be peddled to the believers. The converse is just as true, that anything taken away from it is a false gospel as well.

    Thus the issue regarding salvation can be summed up this way:
    1. Is Christ and His work all that are needed to save a person?
    IOW- is faith in Christ Jesus and work enough to justify, sanctify, and cleanse me of all unrighteousness?

    or

    2. Is there some other work that must be done in addition to the work of Christ Jesus that these might be saved? (this includes anything with the exception of faith since faith in scripture is declared not to be a work, Rom 4:4-6)


    Therefore, just saying one has made a commitment to Christ and believes they will go to heaven (many people believe this but also ask what percenage they have out of a 100 they will go there.. very few give better than 90%), and that they asked for their sins to be forgiven. The JW's fit the above as well as the Mormons and Catholics. The issue needs to narrowed somewhat more precisely just as Jesus said it IS. Narrow is the gate and narrow is the way, few there are that find it.
     
    #4 Allan, Feb 17, 2009
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  5. J.D.

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    Here is the problem defined:

    1. Some professed believers bear fruit.

    2. Some professed believers do not bear fruit.

    Which one describes being "born again"?
     
  6. Revmitchell

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    Exactly!:thumbs:
     
  7. J.D.

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    Right, and I don't think Barna bothers with exactness. His reports have the effect of saying, "the new birth has no effect on people", or, "the new birth is a sham".
     
  8. annsni

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    That's the issue in my mind. It's going by what people say "Sure, I'm born again." and then go on to use their behavior to show that there's no difference between a child of God and the world. My guess is that many who claim to be a child of God and answer those surveys are NOT in reality saved believers.
     
  9. Allan

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    I considered this first but concluded it would still give to large distortion to actual numbers.
    But what of those professsing person who bore fruit (in your estimation) and the fell away. I am specifically refering to thosewho never return to the faith. The above would be a good measuring stick IF we knew it was true spiritual fruit. Thus you will still have a large distortion the numbers since no man can know if a persons fruit is at present of the Holy Spirit or self made.

    Example - if spiritual fruit is the requirement then Catholic prtests and nuns (et all clergy), JWs and even Mormons would be able lay claim here since the only criteria is the evaluation their external actions coupled religious sayings.

    This is why I stated their understanding of the gospel is key to knowing who is more likely to be saved of those who profess TO be saved. The numbers reduce dramatically on this point however even in this we can never be 100% sure because some will even stand before Christ telling Him all the "Did" and thus should be saved.

    At least that is my contension.
     
  10. Me4Him

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    I think I would define "Born again" as one who has "ears to hear" the "Comforter/Holy Ghost",

    So my question would be,

    "Does God speak to you"

    rather than

    "Are you saved"???

    Joh 10:27 My sheep hear my voice,
     
  11. Mexdeaf

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    That's a good point. However, I speak to folks all the time who do things that are directly contrary to Scripture, but they say, "God told me...".

    So you have to be more specific.

    May I suggest that obedience rather than just hearing is the key?

    Jesus said:

    Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Mt 7:21

    James said: But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.(1:22)
     
  12. J.D.

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    My concern - and I think Annsi shares the same concern - is what the lost world thinks when they read the results of those surveys. You and I can discuss the results with some theological/biblical precision and make some useful ecclessiastical applications of the data. But his products are so widely published that they can be wrongly interpreted by church critics that have less than noble motives.

    I'm not an expert on surveys but I bet there's a way that they can be made more theologically technical which would make them less attractive to the general public.
     
  13. annsni

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    I absolutely share the same concern. What concerns me more than that though is the fact that there are some who might feel that they are saved because they believe A B and C, yet there is not one iota of change in their lives. Or what about the new believer who is beginning his walk with the Lord and the Spirit is convicting him on things but other "believers" are telling him "You don't need to worry about that. It's normal and everyone else does it." They're then telling him to disobey the Spirit which is wrong. What if the believers back when Paul was called by God started telling him "Don't preach so much. You talk too long. Your life doesn't need to be so different from the world." Wait - I'm SURE he heard that stuff too. :)

    So the world sees that Jesus Christ makes no difference in our lives.

    New believers see those who should be an example being just like the world.

    Old believers maybe just give up with fighting the tide because they're tired of it all.

    THAT is what makes me sad. :(
     
  14. J.D.

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    Which is what drives my occasional raging-fundamentalist attacks on all things progressive and/or contemporary in churches. But I recongize there's a balance to strike. I believe one of the most difficult issues a Christian has to deal with is deciding where exactly to draw the line between separation and engagement. I guess I would rather err on the side of separation, but I don't want to be thought of as a back-woods wingnut. Not because I'm ashamed to be one, but because it limits my ability to reach and teach people.
     
  15. donnA

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    I fully understand the topic, because I've also questioned what exactly do they mean by certian phrases, like this, and who defination is the person answering the poll using.
    But what I wanted to say was we've had threads before discussing pretty much what you justw rote here, and had people here, (a lot of epople here) say something just about opposite of what you just said, it doesn't matter how oen lives, if there are changes in their lives, any fruit, they are still christians, even if theres never a change in their lives, never any Godly fruit, and they continue the rest of their lives in the same sin they were always in befor ethey said they were saved. The only fruit they have is the fruit thats says 'theres no difference between a a child of God and the world.) So even christians don't agree there must be changes. how can we expect those being polled to knwo whats what, which is whic, when it is acceptable among the chirsitan community to be exactly what you described.

    I have tried to say something like this before, and no one ever accepts it, it's always wrong to expect changes in a person after they make claims of salvation, even years later, not just new beelivers.
    So how can it be right when someone else here says the same thing, and wrong when I say it?
     
    #15 donnA, Feb 18, 2009
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  16. donnA

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    Charles Manson thought God spoke to him, the question doesn't accomplish much.
     
  17. annsni

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    You're right. Unfortunately. See, I kind of see "new creation" or "new creature" as being SOMETHING different. Yeah - a person like Mother Theresa might not have as much to change but there STILL would be a change. Of course, we'd hope that the person who's a promiscuous drunk would show more difference but honestly, there should be SOME change in each of us no matter what we were like before and after. I'm reading about Paul right now and the beginning of his new life and MAN, what a difference! There was no doubt with that man, was there?? :)
     
  18. donnA

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    I agree Ann, new means new, something new and different, somethings changed. But I always get opposition when I say this here.
     
  19. mparkerfd20

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    You won't get opposition from me on that one. New does in fact mean new. It doesn't mean I was a good little boy or girl for a day or 2 and then went right back to living like the devil.
     
  20. webdog

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    I believe "new" is positional...the addition of spiritual life to go along with physical life, unlike the lost. Has nothing to do with the ability or scope of the potential to commit any sin. The new creation in us is the addition of the new nature, not the eradication of the old. Since we can suppress the Spirit, any sin a lost person can commit can also be committed by a saved person.
     

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