|Dear Rev. Know-It-All,
My brother in law is a member of an evangelical
church, the Separated Brethren Twice Removed Holiness Church of God in
Christ with Signs and Wonders Following, and he says that I must be born
again to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Is he right?
Yes he is.
I suppose I could end the letter right
now, but I won’t.
You must be born again, but I suspect you
brother-in-law isn't. I have met a lot of people who claim to be
born again who don’t know the first thing about what it means to be born
again. They go to a retreat, or come up for an evangelical style
altar call to have a religious experience with goose bumps on their goose
bumps, and they think they are born again and automatically going to heaven.
I hope they’re right, but I suspect they aren't.
A wise old preacher told me years ago that
he had been a medical assistant in the navy and, as such, had assisted
in quite a few live births. He realized that no one comes into the
world willingly, we come into the world kicking and screaming and leaking.
Birth is not a nice comfy experience that make us feel all warm and fuzzy.
On the contrary, it is the struggle to leave a place of safety and security
to enter a place of danger and exposure, and, above all, growth.
People in the so called born again movement
aren't celebrating spiritual rebirth. They are celebrating spiritual
conception, which is just fine if well understood. Conception is
usually an ecstatic moment whether in the physical or the spiritual, but
there are many conceived who are never born. They wither in the womb
and never arrive at life.
Has it occurred to you that you were alive
for nine months before you were born and that those were some of
the most important months of your life? Still, the time came
when you had to leave your mother’s womb and be born and enter the fulness
So it is with our soul. When we come
to know the Lord, in whatever way we come to know Him, we are alive spiritually,
but if we don’t continue to the point of birth and growth, we die and
So yes, you must be born again. You
must allow God to take you out of your religious “comfort zone” and
conform you to His own divine image.
Remember that He said “not all those
who say ‘ Lord, Lord’ will enter the Kingdom
of Heaven, but only those who do the will of my Father,” and
elsewhere, He says “when you saw me hungry,
you gave me no food... so depart from me into the everlasting fire.”
“But Lord, I had a wonderful experience at a retreat and thought I was
born again!” “ No,” the Lord will say, “I never knew you.
I gave you new life and you let it wither and die.”
So, wish your cousin luck and ask him the
question he asked you: Are you born again?
Must I be 'born
again' to enter the Kingdom of Heaven?