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What is a good way to respond to door-to-door evangelists who ask if I’ve been “born again”?

Full Question

What is a good way to respond to door-to-door evangelists who ask if I’ve been “born again”?

Answer

Most Catholics are thrown off by this question and answer hesitantly at best. This leads Fundamentalists to assume that Catholics haven’t been born again.

But they are wrong. All baptized Catholics have been born again, so you can answer “yes.” Discussion no doubt will follow.

A good way to start is to admit the importance of being born again. Jesus commands it (Jn 3:3,7). To be born again implies a radical change in a person, an event as life-altering as the “first birth” out of your mother’s womb. When you are born again, the Holy Spirit makes a change in your soul, cleanses you from sin, and gives you a new nature, planting supernatural love in your heart. Just as you were once born into an earthly family, when you are born again you become part of a spiritual family, with God as the head and all his people, on earth and in heaven, as your brothers and sisters.

Once in agreement on what “born again” means, proceed to the point of disagreement: how we are born again. Probably the Fundamentalist will posit some kind of spiritual experience, a moment of commitment to Jesus, an acceptance of him as “personal Lord and Savior.” But Catholics use the biblical means of being born again: baptism.

Jesus told Nicodemus, “No one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit” (Jn 3:5). Paul spoke of God’s gift of “the bath of rebirth and renewal of the Holy Spirit” (Ti 3:5). Paul told the Romans that “we who were baptize into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death . . . so that . . . we too might live in the newness of life” (Rom 6:3-4). Water baptism is the physical sign of and instrument for bringing about the spiritual rebirth. In baptism we are regenerated into new life in Christ.

So answer door-to-door missionaries with a proud affirmative–if you have been baptized, you already have been saved the Bible way and in the way the first Christians understood “born again.”










3 comments

  1. Linda Reply

    Plus, every Easter, we renew our baptismal vows. I am saved by grace, justified by faith and redeemed by works. There is nothing better than the Catholic faith.

  2. Binny Kuriakose Reply

    I have a elderly woman living nearby my house, who is a catholic. Although she does not have much education, she reads the bible and never misses a chance to celebrate the holy mass.
    Once she was confronted by a couple of evangelists at her home and she was asked all sort of questions like, are you born again, do you really want to be a follower of jesus and so on. after hearing them out for a while she answered “I am not capable of arguing with you about the bible, or answer your questions properly, but I know for sure that Jesus has said that during these times many people will come, saying that salvation is here and salvation is there. So i will take my chances with the catholic church.”

  3. Mario Simonelli Reply

    Many books have been written but ambiguity, I believe, still surrounds this subject. Nothing in what I have read or in what I have heard from preachers has explained the fundamental differences between seeing the Kingdom of God, and entering the Kingdom of God.
    For we read in John 3:3: “Jesus answered and said to him, truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the Kingdom of God."
    And in verse 5 we read: “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."
    From the above verses we learn that there are two stages of transition if you like: one is to enable men to see the Kingdom of God and the other is to enable men to enter the Kingdom of God. Like everything else in our lives, the spiritual journey also begins at birth. We must realise therefore that when we are born our spirit is agnostic. In other words, we do not know if there is a God or not. However as we grow up, at some point in time of our life (mostly before or in our early teens), we will make that decision based on our own observation of the awe of creation.
    John 3:1-21: “Now there was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews; this man came to Jesus by night, and said to Him, ‘Rabbi, we know that You have come from God as a teacher, for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with Him.’"
    Without realising it, Nicodemus had made a very important confession of faith to Jesus, by saying, they knew that Jesus had come from God as a teacher. By saying that, he demonstrated that he and others were believing and able to see the Kingdom of God in Jesus, for they recognised that God was performing miracles through Him. Jesus in turn confirmed that Nicodemus and others where able to see the King-dom, for He answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the Kingdom of God." (Jesus’ words can also be understood to say; only a believer can see what you said.)
    Unfortunately, Nicodemus did not recognise Jesus’ answer as a confirmation of his ability to see the Kingdom, for he was thrown completely out of balance because he could only think of having to be born again from his mother’s womb. Jesus however, in correcting Nicodemus’s misunderstanding, moved to the next spiritual transition by saying, “Truly, truly, I say to you unless one is born of water and the spirit, he cannot enter into the Kingdom of God." (Jesus’ words can also be understood to say; unless one is converted and repents he cannot enter into the Kingdom of God.)
    It is obvious that Nicodemus had no trouble seeing the Kingdom of God in Jesus because he was a God-fearing man, honestly believing in the existence of God, trusting his spirit, which was born again as a believer through his Jewish religion.
    Therefore we can be certain that all who earnestly believe and have a fear of God, regardless from which doctrine their faith was born, has the capability of seeing the Kingdom of God. (Remember the Roman centurion, Matthew 8:10 and the Canaanite woman, Matthew 15:27 – 28.)

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