|Anti-Catholic posters in the USA|
Photo Source: Keith Major;
History of Born Again:
The Born Again Movement traces its origin early in the 19th century. In reaction to Protestant Liberalism a group of Protestant theologians from various denominations (Baptist, Methodist, Episcopalian, Presbyterian, and Evangelicals etc.) wrote a 12 volume book entitled The Fundamentals.
The book contains a compilation of essays of Protestant doctrines and the Born Again Movement adapted their doctrines from this 12 volume books that is why some of their doctrines are similar to those of mainline Protestants. In the strictest sense Born Again Christians is an offshoot of mainline Protestantism, no wonder they claimed to be a non-denominational Church.
Born Again Movement arrived in our shores in the late 1930’s and gained its popularity in the 70’s and 80’s which is considered the golden era of Born Again Movement in the Philippines. During this years membership in various Born Again Churches increase because they where able to infiltrate mainline Protestant Churches and had lured nominal Catholics into their fold.
However their steady growth ceases starting the year 1990 and their membership declined in the succeeding years. In the year 2000 Born Again Churches in the United States send their missionaries in the Philippines to re-established the Born Again Movement and this time their primary mission is no longer to infiltrate Protestant and Catholic Churches but targeted the youth in schools particularly college students.
In Davao City there are various Born Again Churches, the following are the most common Born Again Churches that is actively recruiting students to join their ranks,
House hold of Faith,
PSALM and Maranatha Family Church.
Born Again evangelist does not want to discuss the history of the Christian church, in their Bible studies with their prospects, they intentionally limit the discussion to the Bible alone. They conceal the history of the Christian religion because it will show that their movement did not originate from the apostles. It is necessary for them to negate history because St. Paul warned us not to accept teachings that did not originate from the apostles Gal.1:8 and Born Again Movement evidently cannot trace the history of their church into the time of the apostles.
Method of Evangelization:
Born Again evangelists employ the basic principles of human psychology in order to lure people into their fold. Their method is both manipulation and deception, let me explain why.
There are two principles that work behind their method emotion and common ground (music). Born Again evangelist realized that music is a common ground among youths, so they adopted music to attract young adults into their churches. If you attend the service of one of these Born Again Churches you can see that their music ministry is like a rock and roll band, they intentionally composed alternative type gospel songs in order to add attraction to their service. In this way those people whom they invited will experience a pleasurable feeling and will come back for more.
Aside from music they add into their arsenal the appeal to the emotions of the people. The sermons of their pastors are directed to stir up the emotions of the listeners and sometimes they would even come to the point of crying in the pulpit that is the reason why their pastors must be a good public speaker.
Born Again evangelist knew that once they where able to touch the person’s emotion it will be very easy to manipulate him. Through music they grant pleasure and through emotional manipulation they control the people, this is a classical example of psychological conditioning (this is also used to train dogs).
Clearly Born Again evangelization has deception as its chief foundation and they even used selected passages from the Bible to deceive people. They usually start evangelizing by asking ambiguous questions such us “Are you saved?” or “Are you born again?”, if the person answers “no or I don’t know” they will tell you that you must accept Christ as a Lord and Personal Savior in order to be born again otherwise you will be damned to hell. And if the person will answer “yes” they will invite you to their church and worship with them. And if the person is a Catholic that would mean that you have to leave the Catholic Church and do away your Catholic beliefs about Mary, the Saints, confession etc. Let us be vigilant not to fall to the snares of the Born Again movement.
EXPOSING THE BORN AGAIN DOCTRINES
Bible Alone Doctrine:
Following the battle cry of the Reformers “Sola Scriptura!” or Bible alone, Born Again Christians will only believed what they can find within the pages of Sacred Scripture. Hence for them historical records, writings of the early church fathers are superfluous. It is virtually impossible to argue with a Born Again in the realm of history because they will just dismiss it as irrelevant to our salvation.
Born Again Christians view the Bible as the final authority for a Christian’s faith and moral not the Church, aside from this they also view the Bible as sufficient for everything related to salvation. They are also strict literalist they have no regard for the historical background of the passages in the Bible. And they take most of the passages as literal unless in contradicts their doctrines.
In support of their false doctrine of Bible alone they frequently quote 2 Timothy 3:16 which says; All scripture, inspired of God, is profitable to teach, to reprove, to correct, to instruct in justice: a close analysis of this passage will bring out the truth that the Born Again Christians erred in their interpretation of the said passage.
What does Paul mean when he said all scripture is inspired? First and foremost the scripture that Paul is referring here is not the Bible as what we have now but the Old Testament. In verse 15 of the same chapter Paul said to Timothy “from thy infancy thou hast known the holy scriptures”, and during Timothy’s infancy not a single New Testament was ever written yet therefore Paul is clearly referring to the Old Testament as God-breathed or inspired.
Furthermore it states that scriptures that is inspired by God is profitable for teaching, reproving, correcting and instructing, clearly this denotes that Scripture is a tool used by the man of God in the four corners of his ministry to teach, reprove, correct and instruct. The Contemporary English Version of the Bible brings out the clear meaning of this passage “Everything in the Scriptures is God's Word. All of it is useful for teaching and helping people and for correcting them and showing them how to live.”
Nowhere in this passage states that Scripture is sufficient for teaching, reproving, correcting and instructing but rather Scripture is profitable or useful. In John 21:25 it says, But there are also many other things which Jesus did which, if they were written every one, the world itself. I think, would not be able to contain the books that should be written.
Every thing that Christ did is important for our salvation and those things that Christ did that were not written down were preserved in the Apostolic Tradition.
The passage 2 Timothy 3:16 does not also prove that Scripture is the only and final authority for a Christian’s faith and morals, because this passage speaks of the nature of Scripture that it is inspired by God and it is a tool used by the man of God for his ministry.
Born Again Christians must rethink and reconsider these questions in their search for the truth; did Christ instruct the Apostles to write the Bible? When Christ ascended to heaven did he left us a Bible or a Church? And lastly did Christ instruct us that the Bible is the final authority or the Church? (cf.Mt.18:18).
The Bible is very clear that the Church founded by Christ is the final authority. In Mt.16:17-19 Christ founded the church and he gave to Peter the keys which symbolize authority and in Mt.18:17-18 this authority is extended to other apostles. In 1 Timothy 3:15, the church is called the pillar and bulwark of truth therefore if we want to know the gospel of Christ go to the Church that He himself founded.
The Church was able to give us the Bible because it is the pillar and bulwark of truth, the contents of the Bible is the very gospel that the church has been preaching for 300 years before the Bible was compiled in 397 A.D at the synod of Carthage.
Furthermore the Bible also tells us that it is not sufficient because not all teachings of Christ where written down.
In 2 Thessalonians 2:15 Paul said “Therefore, brethren, stand fast: and hold the traditions, which you have learned, whether by word or by our epistle.” In this passage Paul urges us all to hold on to the traditions that they handed over to us both by word (Apostolic Tradition) and by epistle (Bible).
Therefore it is absolutely wrong to believe that the Bible alone is sufficient because it is recorded in the Bible the teachings of Christ are handed over to us through Oral/Apostolic Tradition and Sacred Scripture. The Catholic faith is this that we have Sacred Scripture, Apostolic Tradition and an infallible interpreter the Magisterium
Faith Alone Doctrine:
Like any other Protestant Churches, Born Again Christians also believed in the invented doctrine of the Reformers the so called Faith Alone doctrine. Born Again Christians is fond of quoting the Scripture out of its context especially the verses that emphasized the importance of faith.
However Born Again Christians do not express the totality of the Biblical doctrine of salvation since they only select the verses they read and used in their Bible studies. The Born Again always make it a point in their Bible study and preaching that you don’t need to perform good works since God would look into your faith not on your good works.
Protestants divorce faith from good works because part of doing good is obedience, since they do not want to obey the Vicar of Christ the pope hence they dismissed the importance of good works. This doctrine is not only contradictory to Scriptures but it is also heretical (cf. Js.2:24).
The Catholic Church taught us that faith and good works is complementary to each other, we put our faith into action by doing good works. In James 2:26 it clearly denotes that faith cannot be separated from good works since faith without good works is dead.
Even in the time of Christ there were people who believes in faith alone but Christ rebuked them for this erroneous belief. In Mt.7:21, Christ said “not every one who calls me Lord, Lord will enter the kingdom of Heaven but he who does the will of my Father in heaven”, in this passage Christ rebukes those who have faith in him alone but does not do the will of the Father.
But what is the will of the Father? In Eph.2:10 we are created for a life of good works since it is through good works that we can put our faith in action, as what St Paul said faith that works through love (cf. Gal.5:6). Although faith is necessary for salvation (cf. Heb.11:6), it must be united with good works.
In Acts 16:30-31 it shows the unity of faith and good works. The jailer asked Paul what must I do to be saved? The phrase “must I do” denotes an action, something the jailer must perform in order to be saved. And Paul answered the jailer “believe on the Lord Jesus”, which connotes that he must have faith in Jesus Christ. Thus combining the thought in the jailer’s inquiry and Paul’s answer it tells us that the act of believing or having faith is not just a mental assent but a good works by itself.
Hence it proves that faith and good works is inseparable from each other. A faith accompanied by good works is a living faith that is why in Paul’s epistle to the Romans 2:7, he told the Romans that eternal life is the reward for those who persevere in doing good works. This is proved by the example of a man named Zacchaeus wherein he put his faith into action by doing good works (cf. Lk.19:8-9).
The Danger of Faith Alone:
The belief in faith alone doctrine of Martin Luther is very dangerous, because it undermines the very fundamental way of cultivating values and putting our faith in practice that is through charity.
If we have faith alone there exist no difference between the devil and us. Because even the devil believes in God (cf. Js.2:19), the fundamental difference between us and the devil is that we are capable of putting our faith into practice by being charitable. And being charitable is being a loving person but the devil is incapable of being charitable hence if we have faith alone and does not have love there is no difference between the devil and us.
In the end of times God will judge us by how we put our faith in action. In Mt.25:32-46, the criteria of God’s judgment will be base on our good works not by faith alone. If we die having our faith alone and faces God for judgment (cf. Heb.9:27) on what basis would God judge us, if we have not done any good works in our life? Would such dead faith saved him? Certainly not!
Being a faithful Christian means that we must be obedient to God and to the people he mandated to tend His flock. In Luke 10:16, Christ told the seventy two people He mandated to go house to house that those who rejects them also rejects Christ and the Father. In Mt.28:18-20, before he ascended to heaven He mandated his apostles to make disciples to all nations thus those who rejected His disciples also rejects him. And the successors of Christ’s apostles are the bishops that we have now. Hence to reject the bishops and the pope is also rejecting Christ.