You Must be Born of Water and the Spirit

by Greg Tidwell

Jay has asked for clarification, writing:

Greg has published articles in which he lists certain doctrinal errors that damn (cause apostasy, cause one to fall away). I’m sure these aren’t intended as complete lists. And I’m not asking Greg to provide such a list. I just want to know: do these still reflect Greg’s beliefs?

Thus, in this post I want to reiterate that I believe a rejection of the biblical Way of Salvation is apostasy and places ones soul in jeopardy.

The American Restoration Movement began as a move away from the division of human opinion into a united submission to God’s will as revealed in Scripture.

Uniting in this faith meant dividing from all who did not share this conviction. Faith in the Bible provided a clear definition of who was and who was not in the church. Only those who submit to God’s way of salvation presented in Scripture are Christians.

I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel–  not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ.   But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed.  As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed.  For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.  (Galatians 1:6-10, ESV)

This clear definition, however, is unpleasant. We have friends, neighbors, and family who do not share our faith. The pressure to keep peace with other religious people even caused Alexander Campbell to compromise his convictions.

The Lunenburg Letter

Campbell published a letter from an unnamed woman in Lunenburg, Virginia, asking if he believed there were Christians among all Protestant sects. He responded in The Millennial Harbinger in September 1837:

But who is a Christian? I answer, every one that believes in his heart that Jesus of Nazareth is the Messiah, the Son of God; repents of his sins, and obeys him in all things according to his measure of knowledge of his will. (p. 411)

There is no occasion, then, for making immersion, on a profession of the faith, absolutely essential to a Christian—though it may be greatly essential to his sanctification and comfort. . . But he that thence infers that none are Christians but the immersed, as greatly errs as he who affirms that none are alive but those of clear and full vision. (p. 414)

Campbell’s reply opened the door to extending Christian fellowship to other religious groups. While Campbell tried to retract the full impact of his statement, open fellowship with other religious groups remained socially attractive.

Future generations of church leaders would expand on this spirit of compromise. By 1908 P.Y. Pendleton, a grandson of Alexander Campbell, accepted infant sprinkling and ecumenism while preaching at the Vine Street congregation in Nashville.

Does Truth Matter?

Not all leaders in the church at the turn of the last century were willing to embrace the spirit of the age. Even as a desire to please friends, neighbors, and family entices the church to soften doctrinal positions, a desire to please God leads the church into doctrinal distinctiveness.

David Lipscomb, writing in the Gospel Advocate in 1909, described the conflict between pleasing the world and pleasing God:

There is one great danger in seeking union among men – that is, in uniting with men we may separate from God. Often when we seek to get closer to one body we move away from another. We must be careful not to separate form God, because a union without God is a union in falsehood, a union with death. (pp.1486, 1487)

The church of Christ at the turn of the twentieth century had to choose between faithfulness to God and acceptance by the broader religions community. This same choice is dividing the church in our day as well.

A Distinctly Christian Fellowship

Many leaders in the church are calling for open fellowship with other religions. Rubel Shelly and John York in The Jesus Proposal argue that churches of Christ ought to extend Christian fellowship to members of the various denominations (pp. 171-179). The book Down in the River to Pray, by John Mark Hicks, portrays salvation as a process rather than an event. Hicks puts forward that all who respond to the gospel in any way may be part of God’s family (pp. 197-199).

This approach cuts to the heart of the church. If we cannot know who is lost, then we cannot know who is saved. A hundred and thirty years ago, J. W. McGarvey wrote that he thought some unimmersed believers will be saved. David Lipscomb responded that McGarvey owed it to God and those believers to tell which ones would be lost and which would be saved (Gospel Advocate, 1876, p. 276).

Considering Jays affinity for clear checklists, perhaps he can let us know how broad he would like to extend fellowship.

The problem is, as W. S. Gilbert noted, “When everyone is somebody, then no one’s anybody.” Either baptism is a new birth into Christ or it is not.

Christians usually fall into error gradually rather than instantly. A small compromise here, a little concession there, and before you know it the whole has changed. Lowering the boundaries between the church and other religions weakens the meaning of being a Christian. It is an apostasy of attrition.

One of the greatest temptations we face is to blur the lines between who is and who is not in the church. We want to go along and get along with anyone and everyone. It’s always more pleasant that way.

We must treat people of all religions, and people of no religion, with respect and kindness. We must never, however, blur the lines that make being a Christian distinct from belonging to a different faith.

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66 Comments on “You Must be Born of Water and the Spirit”

  1. Bondservant Says:

    People can look at the title of this post and not know the context which these word are used.

    John 3:4-8
    Jesus speaks to Nicodemus about how one is born again. “Nicodemus said to Him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?”

    Jesus answered him saying, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.”

    Nicodemus was looking at being born again as we are born of our mother. Jesus was telling him that a man is born of water from the womb but they also need to be born again of the Spirit to enter the kingdom of God. Jesus told Nicodemus, “That which is born of flesh is flesh, and that which is born of Spirit is Spirit.” Jesus was born of flesh and of the Holy Spirit, we are born of flesh and of flesh. Someone who is only born of flesh cannot enter heaven, but someone who is born of flesh and of the Spirit can.

    Jesus was stressing to Nicodemus “unless one is born of water AND THE SPIRIT, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.”

    Verse 8 Jesus puts emphasis on the Spirit saying, “The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit”

    Some try to say, that would mean babies who die are going to hell. The Bible says if a person doesn’t believe they are going to hell, do babies believe? The cofC denomination tell people if they are not baptized they will go to hell, does the cofC denomination baptize babies? We know a babies brain is not equipped to make any of these decisions.

    To say Jesus was speaking about water baptism is not accurate according to the context.

  2. Alan Says:

    God can forgive anyone he chooses. He has forgiven people in the past who did not meet the conditions of the then-in-force covenant. He can do so again.

    However, we are not authorized to offer promises that God did not offer. Acts 2:38-39 clearly authorizes us to extend that promise on those conditions to everyone whom God will call. There is no comparable passage authorizing an alternative course for us to preach.

    It is the height of arrogance for us to try to limit God. He can do whatever he wants, and we should not imply otherwise. But likewise, we should not make promises on God’s behalf that God has not made himself.

  3. Harmony Says:

    But Jesus clearly says “unless one is born of the water and the Spirit…” which indicates that a water is a requirement as well. Are you trying to say that Jesus is speaking of physical birth when he says “born of the water”? How would Nicodemus have understood that phrase? Did first century Jews and/or Greeks take that to mean physical birth? I have not found any evidence of that.

    However, I did a very thorough study on what the earliest church fathers through the Reformation had to say about this verse. Every single one of them who stated an opinion took it to mean water baptism. Until John Calvin, who said (and I quote), “Chrysostom, with whom the greater part of expounders agree, makes the word Water refer to baptism. [….] So far as relates to this passage, I cannot bring myself to believe that Christ speaks of baptism; for it would have been inappropriate.” (emphasis mine)

    With Calvin being the first major theologian to suggest that this passage was speaking of something other than water baptism (and he himself admits that most of the Church fathers believed Jesus to be speaking of water baptism) and no evidence that the phrase “born of water” referred to physical birth in the first century, I think it’s perfectly acceptable to reference that scripture as the title to this post.

    As to the content of the post itself, I want to agree 100% with the first statement: “a rejection of the biblical Way of Salvation is apostasy and places ones soul in jeopardy.” What I want further clarification on is whether rejection means willful rejection, ignorant rejection – or both.

  4. Bondservant Says:

    “Nicodemus said to Him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?”

    Nicodemus was looking at being born again as we are born of our mother.

    Jesus had to explain it to Nicodemus as he was looking at it. Jesus was telling Nicodemus unless you are born of water AND THE SPIRIT you cannot enter the kingdom of God.

    Verse 8 Jesus said, “So is everyone who is born of the Spirit.” Jesus left water out altogether. Jesus was stressing to Nicodemus when he is born again of the Spirit (not water) he can enter the kingdom.

  5. Harmony Says:

    “Nicodemus said to Him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?”

    That is verse 4, before Jesus says a word about water or Spirit. Nicodemus is replying to verse 3 where Jesus simply says that a man must be born again. Then after that exchange Jesus makes the statement about being born of water and Spirit. So, no, I don’t think you can say from this passage that Nicodemus understood ‘born of water’ to mean physical birth.

    You said: “Nicodemus was looking at being born again as we are born of our mother.”

    Right, he didn’t understand that part at all. And then Jesus explains what it means to be born again, by speaking of both water and Spirit.

    You said: Verse 8 Jesus said, “So is everyone who is born of the Spirit.” Jesus left water out altogether. Jesus was stressing to Nicodemus when he is born again of the Spirit (not water) he can enter the kingdom.

    Then why would he say in verse 5 that you must be born of both?

    John was written somewhere around 90 AD, right? As early as Justin Martyr (140-160ish) this passage was interpreted to mean water baptism. And, as far as I can tell, it continued to mean that up until about the 1500s. So I feel fairly confident in saying that this was likely how the first readers of John interpreted this passage. Were they wrong?

  6. Bondservant Says:

    Why didn’t Jesus take Nicodemus to some water and tell Nicodemus that if he is baptized he will be born again.

    I will wait for your answer.

  7. Harmony Says:

    Why didn’t Jesus take Nicodemus to some water and tell Nicodemus that if he is baptized he will be born again.

    I imagine it was the same reason why he didn’t come right out and say what it meant to be born of Spirit. He’s really pretty cryptic during the whole discussion. From verses 9 through 12, we can see that Nicodemus didn’t understand Jesus’ point at all. And Jesus didn’t often explain things to people who weren’t ready to understand them.

    Of course, you will notice that the very next thing Jesus is recorded as doing after finishing his discussion with Nicodemus (v 22) is going into the countryside with his disciples to baptize…. So perhaps, if Nicodemus was included among Jesus’ disciples, that’s precisely what he did.

  8. Bondservant Says:

    So when Jesus was speaking to Nicodemus why didn’t Jesus take Nicodemus to some water point at it and tell him if he is baptized he will be born again?

  9. Bondservant Says:

    You say someone who is not baptized will go to hell. I would think Jesus would have took the time to take Nicodemus to some water and tell him if he is not baptized he will be condemned.

  10. Bondservant Says:

    Harmony,

    You say Jesus was talking about water baptism because that is what you have been taught by other people.

    How do you know Jesus wasn’t talking about Himself as the living water? Jesus is our living water.

    I believe from the context that Nicodemus was looking at being born again as we are born of our mother Jesus had to explain it to Nicodemus as he was looking at it.

  11. Bondservant Says:

    The cofC denomination say in order to preach the gospel baptism has to be included. That’s not what Paul did.

    1 Corinthians 1:17 “For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel, not with the wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of no effect.”

    To the cofC denomination for someone to say Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel would be utterly blasphemous.

  12. Bondservant Says:

    It would have taken them many days to travel from Jerusalem to Judea.

    I will ask you another way. Why didn’t Jesus take Nicodemus right then to some water, and tell him if he is baptized he will be born again, Jerusalem had washing pools?

  13. exadyto Says:

    Mr. Gregory,
    Here is one of the major issues I have with those (strongly) conservative individuals in the churches of Christ. It is so pervasive in churches that it is accepted without question. It is, as you have demonstrated, taking Scripture out of context for proof-texting purposes. You quoted Galatians 1:6-10, an often quoted passage for deviant teaching, for your purposes. I don’t see the relevance of quoting this passage to make your point, other than providing an over-generalization. But is it legitimate?

    I would have supposed that you would at least give of some context of what Paul is talking about. If you read on in the book of Galatians, Paul is outraged at the Galatian Christians accepting the teachings of some of those Jewish Christian missionaries coming into Galatia and teaching that the Christians must observe the ‘works of the law.’ These Jewish missionaries had already accepted Christ by being baptized, etc., but they were promoting that they themselves and these Galatian Christians must accept not only Christ, but Moses in following these works of the laws (circumcision, holy days, etc.). This is teaching another Gospel. This is why Paul says in the beginning several lines that those who preach this is accursed.

    Further, your title “You Must be Born of Water and the Spirit,” hints at John 3:5, but nowhere in your post did you use John 3:5 explicitly. A well-known writer has said (I’m sure if you google the quote you’ll find who it is) that “A text without a context is just a pretext for whatever you want it to mean. That is, unless the Bible is interpreted in its various historical and literary and rhetorical and social contexts, it will inevitably be misused and abused.”

    I have seen countless times outlines, sermons, discussions, which toss around Scripture as if preaching ‘truth,’ etc., when in reality it is using surface words such as “fellowship,” “truth,” “salvation,” “doctrine,” “faith,” “sound,” etc., while sprinkling a few Scriptures here and there to establish their point. Are we treating fairly the use of a particular passage, or are we taking the set text to serve our (polemical) purposes?

    It is a building up of a system which cloaks itself in Scriptures–passages which may, in some way, appear remotely related to one’s argument–and combines them with surface generalities.

    Sure, I can see what you’re wanting to accomplish in your post, but I have to step back to see how your using Scripture cloaked in terms of “truth,” “doctrine,” etc. We need to ask, is it misusing Scripture? Is Scripture being used correctly for my present purposes?

    To use one of your over-generalities, “Only those who submit to God’s way of salvation presented in Scripture are Christians,” yes, I agree with this. But this is so vague that one could take this is so many directions–as long they mask it with generalities and toss in a few Scriptures. It seems we’re building up a system for uniformity instead of unity. The two should not be confused. This has been more of a tangent, but I hope you see my reasoning.

    Proof-texting, for the purpose of our ‘systems,’ has infiltrated our churches so pervasively that I fear we are at the point of commonly confusing anemic formalities over the crux of Christian living–transformation.

  14. Alan Says:

    Nicodemus was looking at being born again as we are born of our mother.

    The words Jesus used have two possible meanings. He could have meant “born again” or he could have meant “born from above.” In Greek the words themselves are ambiguous. Nicodemus obviously thought Jesus meant “born again.” But from Jesus’ reply, it appears that he meant “born from above” because the rest of his explanation focuses on the Holy Spirit’s effect in people’s lives. The point Jesus was making was primarily about the Holy Spirit, not about baptism.

    And by the way, the baptism of John did not come with a promise of the Holy Spirit. So it does not follow that Nicodemus needed to be baptized immediately with John’s baptism. Jesus was pointing forward to Christian baptism and the accompanying gift of the Holy Spirit.

    Having said that, it does appear that Jesus had baptism in mind in this passage, as Harmony has clearly explained. In the first three chapters of Joh, there are repeated references to baptism and water. John’s baptism was sweeping the countryside. Nicodemus knew this, and would surely have associated being “born of water” with that phenomenon. However, as I stated in my previous comment, I don’t think what Jesus says here about being born of water in any way limits God’s prerogative to forgive someone who has not been baptized. He can forgive anyone he wants to forgive. We just don’t have authorization to offer God’s promises on terms other than what God stated.

  15. Harmony Says:

    The point Jesus was making was primarily about the Holy Spirit, not about baptism.

    Agreed.

    However, as I stated in my previous comment, I don’t think what Jesus says here about being born of water in any way limits God’s prerogative to forgive someone who has not been baptized. He can forgive anyone he wants to forgive. We just don’t have authorization to offer God’s promises on terms other than what God stated.

    Or, said another way, God has the right to make any exceptions He wants to make. That doesn’t mean we should assume we are one of the exceptions.

  16. Harmony Says:

    You say Jesus was talking about water baptism because that is what you have been taught by other people.

    No, I believe it because I have done extensive studying on this passage and have come to the conviction that it means this. There was a time in my life when I wasn’t so sure water referred to baptism in John 3:5. I am now convinced otherwise – and no one was involved in the convincing other than myself, my Bible, some extra-Biblical references (ex the writings of the early church fathers), and prayer. There are a handful of passages in the Bible that I have spent so much time studying that when they are brought up in conversation I feel obligated to say something. This is one of them.

    How do you know Jesus wasn’t talking about Himself as the living water? Jesus is our living water.

    But, using your own logic, Jesus never came out and explained that he was speaking of himself as the living water. Jesus first speaks of living water in chapter 4 with the woman at the well. But baptism had already been introduced in chapter 1 with John the Baptist, and then in chapter 3 immediately after talking with Nicodemus, we see Jesus himself baptizing. It seems to me there is at least as much reason to say water = baptism in the context of John as there is to say that water = living water.

    But we’re obviously going to disagree on this point, so I’ll bow out now and give you the last word in this discussion. I have to leave for church. 😉

  17. Royce Says:

    Greg,

    The text you quoted in Galations to condemn others condemns you. The “gospel” is not baptism. The “gospel” is the good news about Jesus and what He accomplished for sinners. Baptism is one response to the gospel, it is not the gospel.

    Baptism is not rebirth. The Bible no where supports such and idea. In John 3 Jesus clearly told Nicodemus what he must do to be born again.

    The Bible is its own best commentary.

    1. Water and the spirit in vs5 is explained in vs6 “flesh and Spirit”.
    2. What did Jesus tell Nicodemus to do? vs14-18 Look to him, believe on Him, and whoever believes is not condemned and those who do not are already condemned. Why, because they have not believed on him.
    3. Over and over Jesus teaches the same exact thing and Paul, Peter, Luke, and John all teach the exact same thing. Men are saved by trusting Christ.

    To arrive at some other conclusion you must violate the most basic rules of interpreting scriptures, comparing scripture to scripture.

    By the way, Campbell was not alone in his correct views about who can be saved. But, we are not the church the founders envisioned.

    Grace to you,
    Royce

    The awful sin of the people cited in the text you quoted in Galations was that they added to the gospel circumcision. You have added baptism, and many of our coC folks have added a host of other things too. Paul’s warning should still be heard and heeded.

    Royce

  18. Bondservant Says:

    Harmony said: No, I believe it because I have done extensive studying on this passage and have come to the conviction that it means this. There was a time in my life when I wasn’t so sure water referred to baptism in John 3:5. I am now convinced otherwise – and no one was involved in the convincing other than myself, my Bible, some extra-Biblical references (ex the writings of the early church fathers), and prayer. There are a handful of passages in the Bible that I have spent so much time studying that when they are brought up in conversation I feel obligated to say something. This is one of them.

    Reply:
    Same for me. There was a time I had people trying to convince me that I could pay the debt of my sins. When I was first shown this passage they didn’t show me the context which these words were used. Later when I saw how these people pulled passages out of context misusing them to condemn people, I left and studied the Bible without any outside influence. I believe from the context of John 3 from what Nicodemus had said and Jesus’ reply those people and other’s are wrong.

  19. Wayne McDaniel Says:

    Greg,

    You have misrepresented the very beginning of the RM.
    Those who are familiar with the beginning know that your statement is an attempt to re-write history. The movement began as an effort to unite Christians who were boasting in various distinctive teachings rather than in Jesus, who bore the shame of our sins upon the cross.

    It is clear from what you have written, that you conceive of LEARNING JESUS to be centered around keeping “A Distinctly Christian Fellowship”. Such thinking fails to learn from Jesus’ words in Lk.9:49.
    It cannot see itself among those “who trusted in themselves that they were rightous and set all others at nought.”-Lk.18:9 Greg, your words sound unaware of Paul’s, “but he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God.”-Rom.2:29

    Your teaching about baptism is embaraasing when fully stated. I think you would be embarassed to state it
    fully in the light of this blog. Your teaching about baptism makes a person’s understanding of its purpose
    the criteria for the Lord’s welcome. Such thinking
    ignores Jesus’ blood to cover our sinful lives, and places all hope of receiving God’s forgiveness upon
    one’s understanding of the “purpose” of baptism. I made your arguments when I was 16-17 years old. By the Lord’s longsuffering, I have learn not to boast in ANYTHING, save in the cross of Jesus, his life to cover mine. On That Day when all of the secrets of our hearts are revealed, do you want to rest your destiny upon your understanding of what you understood in your mind at the moment before you went under the water? The time for you to think carefully is now.

    When people are convicted by the Spirit of their sinfulness(Jn.16:8),they are led to repentance toward God(A.20:21). This change of mind is expressed by the words that come out of our mouths. Mt. 3:5-8 teaches us. The multitudes were baptized by John, “confessing their sins.” But the Pharisees and Sadducees came to be baptized without confession, so John challenged them to bring forth fruit worthy of repentance. The fruit of their lips was all that was needed, but their PRIDE was not pierced by seeing their need.
    How many have we seen who were baptized “for the remission of sins”, whose subsequent life did not begin to reflect the humility and kindness of Jesus? How many preachers have we heard preach with cockiness and bluster and condemnation?

    The abomination of pride will not enter the presence of the Lord. Pride changes its form as quickly as a Chameleon changes its color. Others can hear the tones of pride in our voices, and see it in our written words. We all need each other to show us our pride so we may be humbled again. If we truly want to become like Jesus, our pride must be repeatedly
    emptied.

    We in churches of Christ have had a measure of pride in RESTORING the first century church. But there is one item that has not been restored — the confession of sins. James 5:16 is very plain, but ignored. It is self-deception to say we have no sin to confess,1 Jn.1:8-9. Praying for others was urged by John, 1 Jn.5:16, do we practice it? The early Christians knew each other well enough to know each others sins to pray. Today, many of us don’t know each other–
    and want to keep it that way. We are no better than those who advocate, “don’t ask, don’t tell”. If we say that the words of James are to be carried out in groups of two or three, then it is fair to ask, “are we participating?” We cannot answer that we have no sins to confess, because that contradicts 1 Jn.1:8. All of us might ask ourselves, “What sins have I confessed in the past week?”

    Greg, you really do not want to meet the Lord will your zeal to be distinctive from other sinners.
    May all of us learn to say from our hearts,
    “God, be merciful to me, the sinner.”

  20. laymond Says:

    Harmony,I find myself agreeing with Bond servant, only on the context of the conversation between Jesus and Nicodemus, there is no doubt that Nicodemus was understanding “Born again” as physical rebirth, and Jesus was speaking of “spiritual birth” so why would it not be logical to think Jesus said it takes both. as for “born of water” I have never heard of a natural birth which was not preceded by the “water breaking” a child survives within water for the full time they are carried by their mother. I am sure that both Jesus and Nicodemus knew of this process. If Jesus were calling baptism “Born of water” would he not have said you must be born thrice. Of woman. of baptism, and of spirit.? No baptism is a washing, spiritual but a washing just the same. If Jesus were referring to baptism being one or the other I see baptism as the spiritual birth, washed clean of sin. context, context.

  21. Bondservant Says:

    Harmony said: But, using your own logic, Jesus never came out and explained that he was speaking of himself as the living water.

    Reply:
    And Harmony, please don’t take what I said out of context. I was giving that as an example, there are some people who believe this is what it means. I have already stated what I believe what the context of John 3 means.

  22. laymond Says:

    Royce from discussions we have had, I have come to the conclusion, you believe baptism is not necessary for salvation, it is just a thing you do to prove you do believe.

    Mt:7:26: And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand:

    Mk:16:16: He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.

    Royce I know Jesus did not say here, If you are not baptized, you are damned. but don’t baptism follow believing? what person who says I don’t believe, would go and be baptized? logic comes into play somewhere.

  23. laymond Says:

    This project seems to bring to light one thing if not more, we all think we are more righteous than the next person.
    If we believe the bible as we say we do? then we believe the description of the new covenant, described in both Old and New testaments. “for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest.”

    Which brings us to this statement, “yeah you know God, but you don’t know how to worship him, like I do”
    I believe we were warned against that kind of humility.

    Heb:8:10: For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people:
    11: And they shall not teach every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest.

  24. Edward Says:

    when Jesus told them go into all of the world, preaching the gospel; Peter, in Acts 2 followed those commands. Was not baptism in “water” joined with repent? Did not 3000 souls become added upon their obeying Peters command to repent and be baptized in WATER? Did not others say, “here is water”…seems very plain that Jesus meant baptism when he said born of water, seeing they lead others in this direction after preaching the gospel.


  25. Gregory, I cannot draw the same conclusion you have drawn about Down in the River to Pray by John Mark Hicks and Greg Taylor (who deserves to be credited as co-author), when your citation reads, in part:

    “Part of the process of transformation, however, is coming to a clearer understanding of God’s work in our lives, including God’s work through baptism. Consequently, we would gently but boldly teach them the view of baptism we have outlined in this book. We would affirm that baptism is God’s transforming work and explain what we believe is the fuller significance of baptism for faith, discipleship and transformation. We would hope that we could persuade them to fully embrace a biblical theology of baptism and be immersed upon a confession of faith.”

    You say, “One of the greatest temptations we face is to blur the lines between who is and who is not in the church.”

    How important is it to know that? May I submit that, until we face judgment, none of us will fully and certainly know to whom salvation is extended? Should we not teach all? Is it wrong to teach those who have already been taught and accepted Christ?

    And doesn’t it make our task all the more difficult when we precede it by judging other believers and condemning them wholesale on the basis of interpretations different from our own … rather than establishing relationship through the fellowship of belief in Christ in order to teach?

  26. Royce Says:

    Is it safe to assume that all have been baptised in a church of Christ, even while someone says the right things, is truely saved? If not then Greg’s arguement is meaningless at to who is and is not in the church.

    If so, how do you explain that thousands upon thousands have been baptised twice, three times and more?

    The answer is we are saved by faith in Christ, not faith in baptism., Baptism in water is believer’s baptism, buried in the likeness of Christ’s death and being raised in the likeness of his resurrection to live a life surrendered to His eternal Lordship. It is a baptism “for the remission of sins” in the same way John’t baptism was “unto repentance”.

    A person can construct all sorts of doctrines and imagined realities but nothing in the Bible contradicts the clear teaching of Jesus that those who trust him are given eternal life and they shall never be condemned and will be raised from the dead at His appearing.

    Royce

  27. Harmony Says:

    I have never heard of a natural birth which was not preceded by the “water breaking”

    I had to smile when I read that. I am expecting a baby in 7 weeks, and I have been told over and over at childbirth classes that the vast majority of women never have their water break before the baby is delivered. In fact, before the days of hospital births (where they routinely break the waters to speed labor), babies were even born “in the cull”, meaning with the waters intact.

    I think part of the problem comes from the fact that Jesus is obviously emphasizing the Spirit in his discussion with Nicodemus. I don’t deny that. The point of the passage was the Spirit. But that doesn’t mean we should explain away the water part. The focus can be on the Spirit with either interpretation way, IMO.

    Do me a favor and look up the quotes of the early commentators on this passage. A good place to start is here, where John 3:5 is referenced 15 different times from Justin Martyr through Clementine. There are a lot more if you’re willing to dig further, but that’s a great place to start. I know the early commentators are just a fallible as we are and prone to error, but there seems to be an amazing amount of agreement between them that Jesus was in fact speaking of water baptism. If that’s how they (who spoke the language and would have known if “born of water” could mean physical birth) read the passage, I think we need to have a very good reason to read it some other way.

  28. Bondservant Says:

    Harmony said: If that’s how they (who spoke the language and would have known if “born of water” could mean physical birth) read the passage, I think we need to have a very good reason to read it some other way.

    Reply:
    Are you saying that everyone who can speak Greek or Hebrew believes that means water baptism? I know people who are very fluent in both these languages who disagree with your interpretation.

  29. Harmony Says:

    Are you saying that everyone who can speak Greek or Hebrew believes that means water baptism? I know people who are very fluent in both these languages who disagree with your interpretation.

    I know there are modern day Greek scholars who disagree. I’m just saying that I haven’t found a single native speaker of ancient Greek who doesn’t believe “born of water” meant baptism.

    And there is a world of difference between being a “fluent” scholar of a language and being a native speaker. My Father-in-law has lived in the United States, speaking English to native speakers daily, for 40 years. Before moving here, he studied English in school. I would consider him fluent in English – he even had to write a dissertation in English. I would consider him a scholar of English, as he reads books in English all the time in order to improve his language skills. And yet he has the hardest time dealing with idioms and colloquialisms that his children (who have been “studying” English for well under 30 years, compared to his 50+ years) have absolutely no problem grasping.

    Which is why I am more likely to believe the interpretation of a native speaker over a modern day scholar.

  30. Bondservant Says:

    Harmony said: And there is a world of difference between being a “fluent” scholar of a language and being a native speaker.

    You assume that I am not referring to those of the languages, when I am.

  31. Bondservant Says:

    Harmony, you assume too much.

  32. Harmony Says:

    I’m sorry if I misunderstood you. Did you mean that you had read an account from a native speaker of ancient Greek or Hebrew who believed that meant something other than water baptism? I said, “I haven’t found a single native speaker of ancient Greek who doesn’t believe “born of water” meant baptism.” And that’s the truth: in my studies, all the writings pointed to one interpretation. But if you have seen something I have not, believe me, I would love to read it. I’m not trying to be difficult, my studies just point to a different interpretation. If you have evidence to the contrary, please tell me where I can find it.

  33. Bondservant Says:

    I know some very nice Christian people who are Greek. I also have met some very nice Jewish Christians. They have not written any books, but are dedicated to the cause of Christ.

    I would like to ask you again, but will put it another way. Are you saying that every Christian who is Greek or Jewish/Hebrew believes that means water baptism?

  34. Bondservant Says:

    Harmony, I will ask you again. Are you saying that every Christian who is Greek or Jewish/Hebrew believes that means water baptism?

  35. Alan Says:

    Bondservant,

    You need to make a distinction between modern Greek and ancient Greek. They are two different languages. Nobody today is a native speaker of ancient Greek.

  36. Bondservant Says:

    Here are a few quotes about ancient Greek and Modern Greek, I also posted the link.

    “It is also often estimated that the historical changes have been relatively slight compared with some other languages.”

    “Ancient Greek texts, especially from Biblical Koine onwards, are thus relatively easy to understand for educated modern speakers . The perception of historical unity is also strengthened by the fact that Greek has not split up into a group of daughter languages, as Latin into the Romance languages.”

    “The vast majority of Modern Greek vocabulary is directly inherited from ancient Greek, although in certain cases words have changed meanings.”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greek_language

    I would suggest if anyone knows anyone who is Greek or Jewish/Hebrew, speak to them, ask them what they believe, ask them if they speak Greek or Hebrew. Some people you ask may not know the language themselves but may have family members who do. My friend doesn’t speak Greek but their mother does. You will find that not only do they speak their native language but know other languages other than their own and English. I was amazed when I went to Israel how many there were multi-lingual. I would suggest to anyone to do a wider study about both Greek and Jewish/Hebrew Christians and what they believe. I would suggest if people want to know if all Greek and Jewish/Hebrew Christians believe the Bible the same to do an unbiased study.

  37. K. Rex Butts Says:

    Greg writes,

    “The American Restoration Movement began as a move away from the division of human opinion into a united submission to God’s will as revealed in Scripture.

    “Uniting in this faith meant dividing from all who did not share this conviction. Faith in the Bible provided a clear definition of who was and who was not in the church. Only those who submit to God’s way of salvation presented in Scripture are Christians.”

    Are we reading the same restoration history books? I never knew that our early restoration leaders held a vision of dividing from all who did not share their convictions.

    And faith in the Bible?

    It is one thing to read the Bible and conclude that God is calls and commands us to baptism. It requires a quite different reading of scripture to draw a conclusion that anyone who does not share the same conviction and/or practice as I regarding the nature and purpose of baptism are unsaved and outside of the fellowship of God and the people of God.

    Here lies the fundamental difference between the so-called “progressives” and “traditionalists”… we have a different way of reading scripture (hermeneutics). I don’t ever see agreement on the questions driving this entire blog coming as long as we have different hermeneutical approaches. But what a shame it would be that either side would allow something like hermeneutics and hermeneutical differences (a word/phrase that never appears in scripture) divide us further… and what a shame that it has allowed our movement divide in the past from both each other (the Restoration Movement) as well as all others who confess the name of Jesus Christ (the body of Christ).

    Your brother in Christ,

    Rex

  38. Alan Says:

    A modern Greek reading ancient Greek is at best equivalent to a native Korean who studied English reading English. The idioms contained in the scriptures come from a completely different culture. In the passage in question, there is no real debate about what the words mean. The challenge is in understanding the metaphor about birth. Native Greek speakers from the first few centuries of the church had an unquestionable advantage over modern Greeks in understanding the metaphor. The burden of proof is on you to show that any credible source from the first two or three centuries of the church understood the metaphor about being born of water in John 3 to mean anything other than baptism.

  39. Bondservant Says:

    I believe the source given has done a very in depth study of the Greek language. If you don’t believe they have-you don’t have to.

  40. Alan Says:

    Bondservant,

    You are dodging the point. The question is not about translating the words but understanding the idiom. If your friend studied ancient sources and found that “born of water” was understood as physical birth, then show the evidence. If you don’t have evidence, then say so. Your friend’s hearsay evidence is inadmissible. You need to show the source evidence in order for your point to stand.

  41. Bondservant Says:

    Alan, I gave a source that shows those who speak Modern Greek can understand Ancient Greek. Like I said you don’t have to believe it, I do.

    And by the way how many people around the world who read the Bible speak Ancient Greek?

  42. Bondservant Says:

    Are you saying anyone who doesn’t know Ancient Greek can’t understand the Bible?

  43. Bondservant Says:

    Is the Bible as we read it unreliable??

  44. Bondservant Says:

    Alan, just to let you know I have already heard people use the exact same words you used in your last comment because they don’t like that someone has shown proof they don’t want to be shown.


  45. Greg,

    I am perfectly happy to observe you and Jay (along with Phil and Todd) discuss the questions here. I am certainly praying over the whole exercise which I hope will be profitable.

    I will comment when I think I have something specific to contribute.

    For example, I think you are mistaken that Campbell opened a new door in the Lunenberg letter. Actually, Campbell insisted that he was saying nothing new and this is what he had always stated. He even quotes several examples from his previous writings to make his point in the last issues of the 1837 Millennial Harbinger.

    I think you mischaracterize our (Greg Taylor and myself) position in Down in the River to Pray. We actually state that salvation is both an event and a process (cf. pp. 254-55), and that the baptismal event is a moment where we encounter God, experience his grace and are assured of our salvation. Baptism is a means of grace; an event of grace, a moment when God does something salvific.

    I also think your language is a bit imprecise in charcterizing our position. While you write that we believe that “all who respond to the gospel in any way may be part of the family of God” (emphasis mine), it is more precise to say that we believe that God receives those who trust in Christ, submissively seek God from their hearts, and obey him according to their knowldege because God values mercy over sacrifice and faith over ritual. At the same tiem, God gives us ritual as means of encountering him, receiving his grace and concretely experiencing assurance. Ritual is God’s gift to his people but it should not be exalted over faith or nullify faith simply because the ritual was misunderstood, misapplied or mistaken by sincere believers whose hearts fully trust in Jesus.

    Greg, I must admit that I am curious. Do you consider me a member of a “different religion” or do you embrace me as a brother in Christ under the grace of Jesus? Or, is there another option in your mind?

    Blessings, my brother. We are both saved by grace through faith despite our differences, and we both declare the good news that Jesus has come into the world to save sinners.

    John Mark

  46. Bondservant Says:

    The source Harmony gave is the translated interpretations of men who wrote the NIV and NAB versions. The NIV version was written by a group of men in 1966. Which of these men was a native of Greece who spoke Ancient Greek, it never says any of them are. The writers speak about their uncertainty of Scripture and the revised version keeps having to be the revised.

    “Where existing manuscripts differ, the translators made their choice of readings according to accepted principles of New Testament textual criticism. Footnotes call attention to places where there was uncertainty about what the original text was.”

    “In 1973 the New Testament in the New International Version was published. Since then, suggestions for corrections and revisions have been received from various sources. The Committee on Bible Translation carefully considered the suggestions and adopted a number of them. These are incorporated in the first printing of the entire Bible in 1978. Additional revisions were made by the Committee on Bible Translation in 1983 and appear in printings after that date.”

    “As in other ancient documents, the precise meaning of the biblical texts is something uncertain. This is more often the case with the Hebrew and Aramaic texts than with the Greek text. Although archaeological and linguistic discoveries in this century aid in understanding difficult passages, some uncertainties remain.”

    “As for other proper nouns, the familiar spellings of the King James Version are generally retained.”

    http://www.ibsstl.org/niv/index.php

    The NAB version has a different translation than Harmony does on the context of John 3. Again if you notice Harmony’s source not only gives NIV version but also NAB version.

    2 He came to Jesus at night and said to him, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God, for no one can do these signs that you are doing unless God is with him.”

    3 Jesus answered and said to him, “Amen, amen, I say to you, no one can see the kingdom of God without being born from above.”

    4 Nicodemus said to him, “How can a person once grown old be born again? Surely he cannot reenter his mother’s womb and be born again, can he?”

    5 Jesus answered, “Amen, amen, I say to you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit.

    6 What is born of flesh is flesh and what is born of spirit is spirit.

    7 Do not be amazed that I told you, ‘You must be born from above.’

    8 The wind blows where it wills, and you can hear the sound it makes, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes; so it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”

    http://www.vatican.va/archive/ENG0839/__PXB.HTM

  47. Bondservant Says:

    Alan, I never once said my friend know’s Ancient Greek.

    Seems you need to ask Harmony to show their so called native Greek source.

  48. Bondservant Says:

    Make sure you ask for the native Ancient Greek source.

  49. Alan Says:

    Bondservant,

    Harmony did supply sources of the early church writers who spoke native Greek, who understood water in John 3:5 to refer to baptism. I’m just asking you to provide equivalent evidence to the contrary.

    You are certainly free to trust your friend’s interpretation of the scriptures. But don’t expect others to be convinced merely because your friend says so.

  50. Harmony Says:

    Native Greek sources:

    Justin Martyr (wrote about 50 years after the writing of John – the first source I can find) said of the passage in John 3:

    “Then they are brought by us where there is water, and are regenerated in the same manner in which we were ourselves regenerated. For, in the name of God, the Father and Lord of the universe, and of our Saviour Jesus Christ, and of the Holy Spirit, they then receive the washing with water. For Christ also said, “Except ye be born again, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.””

    Irenaeus (who was Greek and wrote sometime before the year 200) said of this passage:

    ““And dipped himself,” says [the Scripture], “seven times in Jordan.” It was not for nothing that Naaman of old, when suffering from leprosy, was purified upon his being baptized, but [it served] as an indication to us. For as we are lepers in sin, we are made clean, by means of the sacred water and the invocation of the Lord, from our old transgressions; being spiritually regenerated as new-born babes, even as the Lord has declared: “Except a man be born again through water and the Spirit, he shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.””

    Those are the earliest references I can find to this passage, both being from the second century AD and less than 100 years from the writing of John. They both clearly believed that Jesus was speaking of baptism with Nicodemus. I can go further, into the third century:

    Tertullian (writing late 2nd or early 3rd century, and at least 3 of his writings were in Greek) discusses this subject at length (he has an entire treatise on baptism and quotes this scripture several times), but the most telling quote is, “When, however, the prescript is laid down that “without baptism, salvation is attainable by none” (chiefly on the ground of that declaration of the Lord, who says, “Unless one be born of water, he hath not life”)….”

    Cyprian (early 3rd century): “… unless they receive also the baptism of the Church. For then finally can they be fully sanctified, and be the sons of God, if they be born of each sacrament; since it is written, “Except a man be born again of water, and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.””

    Hippolytus (early 3rd century): “which had been represented in the water when he was being baptized. This is, says (the Docetic), what the Saviour affirms: “Except a man be born of water and spirit, he will not enter into the kingdom of heaven, because that which is born of the flesh is flesh.”

    I’ll stop here, because we’re starting to get more than 150 years from the writing of John, but you’ll find that you can keep going… and going… and going. Until you hit Calvin in the 1500s, and then the idea that “born of water” meant something other than baptism starts popping up. So while I am glad you have friends who speak Greek so well (that really is a wonderful resource!), I am curious why they read the passage differently from the early Christians. Do they believe these men were in error in their interpretation? If so, do they believe the entire Christian community at the time was in error?

  51. Royce Says:

    Bondservant and Harmony,

    The two of you have made over 30 comments on this thread and you are not any closer to agreement than when you started.

    How about a cage match? LOL

    Royce

  52. Royce Says:

    Laymond,

    Are you claiming to “do” everything Jesus taught? By the way, Matt 7:26 was not addressing water baptism. The immediate context was believers vs. make believers.

    To answer your questions, Yes, baptism follows believing. People who are baptised and are depending on baptism rather than Jesus are not saved.

    Why do you think so many coC people have been baptised two or more times? It is because they expected baptism to give them something they could on get because of faith in Christ. Assurance based on baptism is false security. Does anyone deny that one can be baptised and still go to hell?

    Baptism never stands alone, it is never apart from faith in Christ, and faith in Christ is the means of grace and justification.

    Royce

  53. Alan Says:

    Royce,

    Harmony is trailing by a score of 24 to 9 if I count right 😉

    And with this post, I lead you by a score of 7 to 4. You’ve been quieter than usual this go-around! 😉

  54. Bondservant Says:

    The Jehovah’s Witness want people to agree with Justin Marty. Justin Marty writings support the Jehovah’s Witness belief.

    “I’d challenge you to reconcile “a god” in the immediate context, in which Justin says that the God who spoke to Abraham from the burning bush was the Son.”

    The Jews, accordingly, being throughout of opinion that it was the Father of the universe who spake to Moses, though He who spake to him was indeed the Son of God, who is called both Angel and Apostle, are justly charged, both by the Spirit of prophecy and by Christ Himself, with knowing neither the Father nor the Son. For they who affirm that the Son is the Father, are proved neither to have become acquainted with the Father, nor to know that the Father of the universe has a Son; who also, being the first-begotten Word of God, is even God. And of old He appeared in the shape of fire and in the likeness of an angel to Moses and to the other prophets; but now in the times of your reign,(8) having, as we before said, become Man by a virgin, according to the counsel of the Father, for the salvation of those who believe on Him, He endured both to be set at nought and to suffer, that by dying and rising again He might conquer death. And that which was said out of the bush to Moses, “I am that I am, the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, and the God of your fathers,”(9) this signified that they, even though dead, are yet in existence, and are men belonging to Christ Himself. For they were the first of all men to busy themselves in the search after God; Abraham being the father of Isaac, and Isaac of Jacob, as Moses wrote.

    3) In the Greek text, LOGOS is also anarthrous. Should we translate it “a word?”

    4) How could Justin have written the other quoted passages about the Son, if Justin thought He was simply “a god.” Justin calls the Son a ‘second God,” and it’s clear from the context that he means a second JEHOVAH, because the Son is the one who spoke to the patriarchs in the OT”

    http://en.allexperts.com/q/Jehovah-s-Witness-1617/Justin-Marty-SYBT.htm

    Tertullian was not an Ancient Greek Scholar.

    “The writings of Tertullianus, a lawyer of the same cognomen, exist only in fragments and do not denote a Christian authorship.”

    “Further, Tertullian has been thought to be a lawyer based on his use of legal analogies and an identification of him with the jurist Tertullianus, who is quoted in the Pandects. Although Tertullian utilized a knowledge of Roman law in his writings, his legal knowledge does not demonstrably exceed that of what could be expected from a sufficient Roman education.”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tertullian#cite_note-10

    I have been busy, can’t stay for now, but I’ll check back later.

  55. Bondservant Says:

    Not all sources are necessarily reliable sources no matter who they are. I’ll stick with the King James Bible.

    Later.

  56. Alan Says:

    If you want to challenge the legitimacy of Justin Martyr as a theologian, go ahead (though I and many others do not agree). Harmony has presented Justin Martyr as a native Greek speaker who understood John 3:5 to be talking about baptism. Your allegations about his theology are not relevant to his reliability in understanding ancient Greek with a native understanding of the idioms of the day.

    As for Tertullian, see
    http://www.theopedia.com/Tertullian

    Until the time of Tertullian nearly all Christian works had been written in Greek. Although Tertullian was fluent in Greek and wrote several works in Greek, he penned most of his works in Latin–in order to benefit the growing number of western Christians who knew only Latin.

    Again, it is Tertullian’s ability as a native speaker of ancient Greek (still the common language in his day) which gives weight to his interpretation of John 3:5.

    This will be my last post on this topic. I have no illusions of persuading you, but I have posted these few comments for the benefit of others who are reading. I think you and I are in agreement on many other topics. I just can’t conscientiously go as far as you do on this one.

    May God bless you.

  57. Bondservant Says:

    The quotes they gave were by Justin Marty.

    Greek was a language Tertellian learned, I would not say he mastered it.

    Trying to get ready to go. Later.

  58. Bondservant Says:

    Scholars who have learned the Greek language today can interpret Ancient Greek.

    “It is also often estimated that the historical changes have been relatively slight compared with some other languages.”

    “Ancient Greek texts, especially from Biblical Koine onwards, are thus relatively easy to understand for educated modern speakers . The perception of historical unity is also strengthened by the fact that Greek has not split up into a group of daughter languages, as Latin into the Romance languages.”

    “The vast majority of Modern Greek vocabulary is directly inherited from ancient Greek, although in certain cases words have changed meanings.”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greek_language

  59. Harmony Says:

    Royce is right, we really aren’t going anywhere. So this is going to be my last word on the subject. Feel free to respond if you’d like to.

    Just a few points:

    1) You asked for me to show my evidence of native Greek sources (“Seems you need to ask Harmony to show their so called native Greek source.” and “Make sure you ask for the native Ancient Greek source.”). So I quoted them for you. You addressed two of my quotes but said nothing of the other three.

    2) You asked me if I thought that all native Greek speakers believed it to mean water baptism. No, I know that many modern-day Greeks do not believe that. However, I will say that I have yet to find any writer before the 1500s (Christian or not, who speaks Greek or some other language) that interprets the passage as anything other than baptism. As I said before, if you can find one (or if your Greek friends can) please let me know. I am very interested in learning more about this.

    3) Tertullian wrote at least 3 books in Greek. He may not have been a native speaker (I don’t know), but he did speak the language and likely knew others who were native speakers.

    4) Justin Martyr definitely had some questionable views of logos. However, this quote is from his first apology where he was explaining why Christians baptize. It is also the earliest writing we have on the passage in question and he certainly was a native Greek. So I think it’s a very valid quote to use. Especially since he’s not saying a word about logos (haha 😉 in this passage.

    5) None of the writers mention anything about physical birth or Jesus as the water of life in connection to “born of water”. You would think that if the phrase meant something like that in ancient Greek they would have mentioned it. But they all obviously interpreted it to mean water baptism. And so do the others that I did not quote, including several anonymous writers from the second and third centuries, a church council from the third century, and a whole host of fourth century and later writers (who, admittedly, were mostly not native Greeks – which is why I didn’t quote them).

    5) I did not pick and choose my quotes. I only left out quotes from writers who commented on the passage more than once, anonymous authors, and writers who I could not determine wrote in Greek. You can spend your time trying to discredit the writers I have quoted – but if you get to the point where you’ve discredited them all, then I would wonder just who of the early centuries you would believe had good theology, and why you believe yours is so good if it is so far removed from what we know of what the earliest Christians believed. Certainly they had their problems in theology (don’t we all), but mostly we see those as isolated incidents confined to one or two authors. All the writers were in agreement on this passage. That says something to me.

  60. Bondservant Says:

    The quotes they gave were from Justin Marty.

    The Jews, accordingly, being throughout of opinion that it was the Father of the universe who spake to Moses, though He who spake to him was indeed the Son of God, who is called both Angel and Apostle, are justly charged, both by the Spirit of prophecy and by Christ Himself, with knowing neither the Father nor the Son. For they who affirm that the Son is the Father, are proved neither to have become acquainted with the Father, nor to know that the Father of the universe has a Son; who also, being the first-begotten Word of God, is even God. And of old He appeared in the shape of fire and in the likeness of an angel to Moses and to the other prophets; but now in the times of your reign,(8) having, as we before said, become Man by a virgin, according to the counsel of the Father, for the salvation of those who believe on Him, He endured both to be set at nought and to suffer, that by dying and rising again He might conquer death. And that which was said out of the bush to Moses, “I am that I am, the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, and the God of your fathers,”(9) this signified that they, even though dead, are yet in existence, and are men belonging to Christ Himself. For they were the first of all men to busy themselves in the search after God; Abraham being the father of Isaac, and Isaac of Jacob, as Moses wrote.

    http://en.allexperts.com/q/Jehovah-s-Witness-1617/Justin-Marty-SYBT.htm

  61. Bondservant Says:

    None of the writers mention anything about physical birth.

    The source you gave not only gives NIV version but also NAB version. Which does mention physical birth: 6 What is born of flesh is flesh and what is born of spirit is spirit.

    2 He came to Jesus at night and said to him, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God, for no one can do these signs that you are doing unless God is with him.”

    3 Jesus answered and said to him, “Amen, amen, I say to you, no one can see the kingdom of God without being born from above.”

    4 Nicodemus said to him, “How can a person once grown old be born again? Surely he cannot reenter his mother’s womb and be born again, can he?”

    5 Jesus answered, “Amen, amen, I say to you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit.

    6 What is born of flesh is flesh and what is born of spirit is spirit.

    7 Do not be amazed that I told you, ‘You must be born from above.’

    8 The wind blows where it wills, and you can hear the sound it makes, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes; so it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”

    http://www.vatican.va/archive/ENG0839/__PXB.HTM

  62. Bondservant Says:

    Justin Martyr definitely had some questionable views of logos.

    I absoulutely agree.

  63. Bondservant Says:

    The quotes by Justin Marty are extermely questionable.

  64. Bondservant Says:

    The men in 1966 who published the NIV and NAB had to translate the languages as written using the modern language as they knew it. I wouldn’t say thier interpretaion of languages is the most accurate translation.

  65. Bondservant Says:

    The men in 1966 absolutely could have put their own spin on their translation as they rewrote the Bible.

    “I just opened the JW “Bible”, the New World Translation (1961 ed.), and looked up all the verses that the NIV completely deletes. THE JEHOVAH’S WITNESS BIBLE DELETES THE EXACT SAME ONES!!!! I mean ALL of ’em!”

    “The other translator will go one step further: he will render a translation which describes his best understanding of how the author wanted you to carry out the instructions. Written as a paraphrase, it will be easy reading, and easy to follow. There is just one catch: you will have to trust that his understanding of how it should be done agrees with what the author intended, or you will fail and end up with nothing!”

    “When a story seems difficult to understand without a little history, the author may even change it to a form he believes you will better understand! You will never know for sure what God said, but must trust the translator’s theology to lead you into truth.”

    http://www.jesus-is-lord.com/nivdelet.htm


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