The Normal Christian Birth

November 13, 2013
Author Article Doctrine Pentecostalism

“The Normal Christian Birth” is a book by David Pawson – a man whose preaching I have respected for a very long time. You can also listen to Pawson's messages on the subject, downloading mp3 sermons for free at www.davidpawson.org.

The Normal Christian BirthPawson maintains that we have misunderstood the process of being born again in recent years. Examining Scripture – especially accounts of how Christians were saved in the book of Acts – he shows that being born again is a four stage process.

  1. Repentance. The first step is always to recognize one's sin and to repent of it.
  2. Believing. The second step is to believe in Jesus – to put one's trust in him totally.
  3. Baptism. The word baptism means immersion. In the New Testament this was alwats done to believers only, not to infants. Although not necessary for salvation, it is none the less mandated by Jesus. Therefore, being baptized is part of our obedience to Him. If we genuinly want to follow Jesus, why would we start off our Christian lives by failing to obey Jesus in the first command that He gave to Christians.
  4. Receiving. Just as baptism in water is not necessary for salvation, neither is Receiving or Being Baptized into the Holy Spirit. Nevertheless, it is clear that this is a necessary process or event for Christians.

In Acts 19, we see all 4 of these aspects. Paul asks the people “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” Why is Paul asking this? It is because it is possible to believe without receiving the Holy Spirit. Cessationists refuse to accept this, claiming that we have the Holy Spirit when we believe. This one simple question by Paul shows that the cessationist argument is incorrect. Sometimes, cessationists claim that these people's belief was not real faith. Yet this is also contradicted by Paul's acknowledgment that the baptism the people had received was to do with repentance. Given the inadequate baptism, Paul has no hesitatio in having these people baptized again, because they were genuine believers; this time the baptism was sound. Then the people receive the Holy Spirit at the laying on of hands, and they begin to speak in tongues.

Pawson goes into a whole lot more detail than I can here, and discusses how many other passages in the New Testament match this account. For now, we should note that effective Christians should have been taken through all four of these stages. None of them is actually optional, for a mature Christian.

4 responses on “The Normal Christian Birth

  1. Mark Alexander

    Sincere saving faith is always marked by these stages. I've experienced too many professing Christians with the erroneous 'turing over a new leaf' understanding of salvation, who try their best to keep it. It is vital to teach the truth and reinforce the teaching of the bible naturally in our teaching, that salvation comes only through repentance and saving faith in Jesus Christ.

    1. Paul Taylor Post author

      Quite right, Mark. And too many churches argue over whether a Christian is “once saved always saved”. It's worth giving my views on that (at a later date), but for now it should be seen that even if you believe in OSAS, too many churches are full of unsaved people who have falsely been led to believe that they are saved.

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