Are You Born Again (Part 3 – My Own Story)

Derek Ouellette —  July 17, 2010

I am aware of three general options or ways in which “born again” is taught among various traditions.

1. The Spirit is given before one believes. The Spirit is given and He Regenerates or makes someone born again so that they can believe and start their Christian walk.

2. The Spirit is given at the moment one believes and repents. There is only one reception of the Spirit.

3. The Spirit is given at the moment one believes and repents, but later one may receive a Spirit baptism – there are two distinct receptions of the Holy Spirit.

My own tradition hails from option three, but what I have been proposing  (a fourth option) is a modified combination of the second and third options (I see the first option as having no Biblical support and is mostly deduced to support a theological presupposition).

Like the first option, there is only one reception of the Holy Spirit in the born again process, but like the second option, that reception happens sometime after one believes, repents and usually after water baptism as well. (For the evidence to back this up read Part 1 and Part 2 in this series.)

I Am Born Again (My Own Testimonial)

Belief and Repentance: I was eleven when I watched the Jesus film put out by Billy Graham (1990). At the end of the film the narrator led me into the “Sinners Prayer” (a tool invented by evangelists, but used by God) which I prayed with all my heart believing the gospel I had just witnessed.

Water Baptism: When I was about twelve or thirteen (within two years of when I first believed) I got up in front of some one thousand people, and with a quivering high-pitch voice I publically confessed my allegiance to Christ only moments before the ministers buried me in a pool of water – death by immersion. This was promptly followed by a new resurrected life (in enactment) rising out from the watery grave.

Spirit Baptism: About one year later when I was fourteen I had a spiritual experience which has never been matched and which dramatically changed my life! At the altar of a small church, surrounded by a dozen other teenagers at a youth gathering, I got on my knees and began to pray. What happened at the time I can only describe as having been overwhelmed by God, a flooding sensation which boiled up the greatest joy I have ever known.

Not everyone’s experience will be identical to my, but my experience has confirmed what I have discovered the scriptures actually teach about the born again process. The Spirit is given to those who obey (Acts 5:32).

The born again process should be quick. Those who wait a long time to get into the water are making a grave mistake. Do not delay. When you mission, do so in such a way as to teach what I have been suggesting: become a follower of Christ. This involves belief in the gospel which will be accompanied by repentance, followed by Baptism as quickly as possible (Acts 8:35-38). In short order, and because you have been obedient to God, the Lord will fill you with his Spirit (Acts 5:38, Acts 2:32), and then you will be Born Again (John 3:3-5)!


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Derek Ouellette

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a husband, new dad, speaker, writer, christian. see my profile here.
  • http://harrysheresy Harry Heimann

    I agree with you totally. My experience was the same as yours and could have been sped up had I known the truth. You are right about it being a “grave” mistake not to be baptised right away.Good post.

  • brad dickey

    I am on my fone so this will be brief.

    That emotionally filled born again experience has a 180 year in the church. Check out nearly any church history to present time. Don’t trust me challenge your belief with facts.

    If you are born again you are no longer “in the flesh nature” Rom 8:9 some say sometimes they are in the spirit sometimes in the flesh. That is aNtithetical to bible teaching. Once the spirit is in you, vs working ON you (gal 5:18 led by the spirit, led is ago in Greek like leading a horse by a lead) that flesh or spirit nature is removed by Christ, vol 2:10.

    Thus where the spirit is there is freedom. 1 Corinthians I think.
    And if you walk by (not beside, but like I got to work by the train) the flesh you will not sin. Gal 5 16.

    If you are born of god you can not sin, not “will not” but CAN NOT, 1 john 3:9 and 5 :18.

    If you still sin you don’t know Jesus and have not “met” him. 1 Jo 3 6

    Too many are claiming a prize they don’t yet have. Isn’t it good news to know Adonai has more growth planned for you if you eill just run the race?

    As paul discussed in phil 3, consider yourself unfinished, as i do, even those of us that are perfect, or finished.

  • Derek Ouellette

    I have proposed an interpretation which is verifiable with Church history and correlates well with what the Roman Church and the Orthodox Church have been doing since the earliest time “to present”. The difference between them and what I proposed is that I believe in “Believer’s Baptism”. As far as the order goes, I am being historically accurate.

  • Ken Stewart

    This otherwise interesting posting is marred by its first point (The Spirit is given before one believes); unfortunately this first point describes the position of no theological position known to me. What is lost in attacking this position as so unsatisfactory is something that both Augustinians (Calvinists) and semi-Augustinians (Wesleyan-Arminians) hold in common. And that is that the Holy Spirit is operative in the minds and hearts of sinners before they believe. Only the Pelagian view (which corresponds to neither the Calvinist nor the Wesleyan-Arminian position)
    supposes that persons repent and believe autonomously (without extraordinary influences of the Spirit). To be sure, neither the Calvinist nor the Wesleyan-Arminian suggest in agreeing here that the Holy Spirit takes up residence in the unsaved; no, He works from without, that is as an external agent rather than as a resident.
    Now if the Calvinist and the Wesleyan-Arminian are agreed about this, they are also agreed that the point at which the Holy Spirit commences His residing in the Christian is at the point of repentance and faith. Paul captures this so clearly when, writing to the Galatians (3.2)”did you receive the Spirit by works of the law or by believing what you heard?”.
    Now, if the two positions are in agreement that the Spirit’s external influences precede and enable a sinner’s repentance and faith, and are also agreed that the Spirit begins to reside in the believer at the point of justification/conversion – where do they differ?
    In these two respects: 1)It is the semi-Augustinian (Wesleyan-Arminian) position that the Spirit’s workings in the unsaved are strictly equal, i.e. that the Spirit does no more in the case of one sinner than another, to prepare him or her to believe and repent. One major difficulty with this position is that neither Scripture nor experience endorse this generous egalitarian view (however commendable it may sound to us). The Augustinian or Calvinist view is subtly different; it is that while there are strivings of the Spirit in the human heart and conscience which may be said to be widespread and universal (see Genesis 6.3; Acts 7.51) it remains true that the ‘breakthrough’ of believing and repenting is something enabled by the Spirit in favored sinners (1 Corinthians 1.26-31). The latter group maintains that there is, along with the preaching of the Gospel a secret, effective summons by the Holy Spirit which prevails; the saved testify to the existence of this magnetic ‘pull’, which Jesus had called the ‘drawing of the Father’ (John 6.44).
    In sum, both positions are agreed about the pre-conversion influences of the Spirit, and about the residence of the Spirit in the believer from conversion onward. They differ over whether this pre-conversion influence of the Spirit is strictly equal in each case. As to whether there are subsequent workings of the Spirit in the believer subsequent to conversion, some Calvinists (but by no means all) agree with Wesleyan-Arminians that there are subsequent works of grace by the Spirit after conversion. But they tend to use a different terminology to describe it, such as ‘sealing’, or ‘visitation’ rather than ‘baptism’. I hope this adds a little clarity to your interesting discussion.

    • Derek Ouellette

      Ken, thanks for added value to this blog with your specialty. It’s obvious isn’t it that my bias has come out in all its fullness? :)

      My understanding – perhaps a caricature – is based on a few things, some of which I’ve read from Calvinists:

      1) Regeneration = Born Again (to be made alive)
      2) Born again is a process consummated by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.
      3) A dead person cannot have faith (he’s dead!)
      4) God has to make him alive (born again) so that he can believe (which seems to be a reversal of the order for me).
      5) Therefore since a person has to be regenerated (notice the tense) to have faith and thus be saved, it seems that this view holds that the Spirit is given before one believes.