I ask this question with tongue in cheek because: How can you be a real Christian and not be born again? How can you be born again and not be a real Christian? You really can’t be one without being the other! Yet, I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve heard people describe themselves as being “a born-again Christian.” But biblically speaking; the term makes no sense! It is actually confusing, because by logical implication, it raises the possibility that one can be a Christian and not be born again or one can be born again and not be a Christian. And as I just stated, those two scenarios are biblically impossible! So why is there such wide-spread use of the term?
Is a born-again Christian more Christian than one who is simply a Christian? Is a born-again Christian more spiritual than someone who is simply a Christian? According to Wikipedia: The term “born again is a phrase used by many Protestants to describe the phenomenon of gaining faith in Jesus Christ. It is an experience when everything they have been taught as Christians becomes real, and they develop a direct and personal relationship with God.” Interesting definition. But my question of the definition is this: Before everything they have been taught becomes real and before they develop a direct and personal relationship with God; are they really Christians? Can one really be a Christian and not have a direct and personal relationship with God? Could it be that many people today use the term “Christian” to denote some political or social identity while the term “born-again Christian” is used to denote the ones who are Christians in the biblical sense? I don’t know, but I think it’s more of a case of people making something simple complicated! Or it might be a case of people using terms because they sound good, not realizing they are not sound. But it’s not just ordinary people, I’ve heard the term used by preachers and pastors; some of national and international renown! The term sounds good! It sounds spiritual! It sounds “deep!” But it really makes no sense! It’s redundant! It’s like a person of Caucasian ethnicity calling themselves “a White Caucasian!” Or a person of the Negro ethnicity calling themselves “a Black Negro!” Technically speaking, there are no Black White people and there are no White Black people (Now, I know some people who would argue this point, but note that I said “technically speaking.”).
Now this post is just a case of me; thinking-out-loud. It’s really not a big theological issue! Keep calling yourself “a born-again Christian” if you want to. I just merely brought it up to help us understand that maybe some of the things we say and some of the terms we use in Christian circles should be given some more thought. And it could very well be that we say a lot of things without giving them much thought at all!