The Bible does not define “born again” the same way that most Americans think of the term, according to notable Presbyterian pastor and author Timothy Keller.
Keller gave a speech on Monday at The Gospel Coalition’s 2019 National Conference, held in Indianapolis, Indiana, and centered on the theme of “Conversations with Jesus.”
For his message, Keller focused on John 3:1-16, in which a prominent Pharisee named Nicodemus met with Jesus and learned that he must be born again to enter Heaven.
Keller noted that for most Americans, hearing that someone is a “born again Christian” will make them think of a specific “type of person.”
In particular, Keller said, when many Americans think of born again they think of “emotional” people who worship with raised hands and crying or “people who have had very broken messed up lives” who now go to morally strict churches, or “knee-jerk conservatives.”
“So generally, when people in America hear the term born again, they think it’s for a type of person, it’s a kind of person,” noted Keller.
Keller explained that John 3 “indirectly and directly undermines that completely,” referring to the American perception as a “patronizing idea.”
“First of all, it indirectly does it just by giving us Nicodemus,” explained Keller, noting that Nicodemus did not fit the perceived type of person who becomes born again.
“He was a member of the council of the ruling Sanhedrin. He would have been a very high status figure. A wealthy figure. By no means an emotional person.”
Keller added that Nicodemus would not have been “a broken type of person,” noting that as a Pharisee, Nicodemus “wouldn’t have needed more moral structure” and that for a Pharisee, which often invokes “knee-jerk conservative,” Nicodemus was surprisingly open-minded.
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SOURCE: Christian Post, Michael Gryboski