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Good Morning Nanty Glo!


Friday, April 15 2005
Jon Kennedy, webmaster

Twice born

Newstalk shows were abuzz on Thursday about the report of a New Castle evangelical pastor, Marty Minto, fired from Pittsburgh radio station WORD for wondering aloud on his talk show whether the late Pope John Paul II is in heaven. The headline as I saw it on the Drudge Report suggested a juicy lead story for my Christian News and Media Portal site (Xnmp) for today, but when I clicked through to the Associated Press story the coverage was so ambivalent that I couldn't tell whether the pastor actually doubted the Pope's salvation or was just using the topic as entry into what the Bible says about how to get into heaven. If that was all it was, it was clever enough for his talk show, not serious enough to get him fired, and not significant enough to make it an Xnmp lead.

But Pastor Minto turned up on Scarborough Country on MSNBC last evening, where in an interview by guest host Pat Buchanan he cleared up the ambiguity. His position, he said, is that Jesus said "you must be born again" (John 3:3 and 7) and he's seen no evidence that Pope John Paul II ever said he was born again, so he has to wonder in which place the late Bishop of Rome will spend eternity. If I recall correctly, when John Paul II came to Candlestick Park in 1987, he actually quoted the references to being born again in John's Gospel in his sermon, but whether I remember correctly or not, Mr. Minto's comments were at best ill-advised and could well be grounds for firing on any broadcast station I managed.

Yes, Jesus said to Nicodemus that being born again is an apt description of the awakening to the spiritual life, or of the heart or spirit to the Word of God (1 Peter 1:23). But He didn't say it is the only phrase that aptly describes conversion, nor that it acts as a magic key to the Kingdom of God. If evidence is lacking that John Paul II ever claimed to be born again, there is also a lack of evidence that the Apostle Paul ever used that formula, or that any other Christian between Peter's use of it up to—I'm estimating—the Second Great Awakening (which can be called the birth of modern evangelicalism; mid 1800s) when it may have first come into prominence among Protestant preachers. I saw no use of the phrase in the history of the First Great Awakening that I surveyed and discussed in some detail here a few months ago.

The first birth is the physical birth; the second birth is the spiritual birth, Jesus says in John's Gospel, and other Scriptures corroborate. So what matters is whether a person has a love relationship with God through Jesus Christ, which is what it means to have a spiritual birth, not what phrase he or she uses to describe it. Anyone who reads the liturgies of the Catholic Church will find many affirmations of the need for saving faith in and through Jesus. And as the saints and John Paul II have generally held, there is no "forumla" or phrasing that saves apart from a genuine heart-held conviction of what is being confessed and prayed. There's no magic formula in either Catholic liturgies or evangelical revival talk that substitutes for genuine faith which comes not through human effort but through God's grace.

Jesus also said, more to the point, I think:

Also I say to you, whoever confesses Me before men, him the Son of Man also will confess before the angels of God.

Luke 12:8

Would that I were as faithful and vocal in confessing Jesus before men as John Paul II was.

Webmaster Jon Kennedy 

A complete index of Jon Kennedy's Jonals for 2001 - 2005

Tips for job hunters (end of series)

If you're in the job market right now you might want to familiarize yourself with the Human Resources Lingo...

"REQUIRES TEAM LEADERSHIP SKILLS" You'll have the responsibilities of a manager, without the pay or respect.

"GOOD COMMUNICATION SKILLS" Management communicates, you listen, figure out what they want, and do it..

Thought for today

45 Natural Highs

Think about them one at a time before going on to the next one.

19. Midnight phone calls that last for hours.
20. Running through sprinklers.
21. Laughing for absolutely no reason at all.
22. Having someone tell you that you're beautiful..

Sent by Jules Nagy  

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