Miniblog #150: Do I Affirm the Necessity of a Born Again Experience?
As one who has become an evangelical Eastern Anglican by way of fundamentalist Pentecostalism and numerous christian traditions, I’ve long wrestled with this issue of a born again experience. Specifically, what is it and is it necessary? My tentative conclusion tries to uphold what I see as an important tension. On the one hand, there seems to be clear evidence that biblical salvation contains a past, present, and future sense.11.We were saved, we’re being saved, and we will be saved. This causes me to shy away from an emphasis upon a precise conversion experience as I encountered growing up. I’m not one to harp a specific, known moment in which one transforms from unsaved to saved. On the other hand, it seems equally clear to me that all people need to have some sort of born again experience.22.I cannot ignore Jesus’ strong language in this regard. While more than OK with paedobaptism, I’m often uncomfortable with some of the surrounding sacramental theology in that it (sometimes) effectively eliminates the necessity of a born again experience. This causes me to emphasize the absolute necessity of conversion. Practical result? Whether it be an instantaneous, profound coming to faith for the first time or an ongoing, subtle taking real ownership of one’s faith over time, my outlook is intentionally and principally flexible.33.I leave it to the Lord to cast judgment. Yet I remain unwavering in my commitment to some sort of born again experience. In this way, my hope is to distance myself from the widespread, evangelical abuses and excesses resulting from Charles Finney and the Second Great Awakening all the while keeping a high fidelity to the biblical faith.