Born a Christian?

In his book Decision Points, George W. Bush recalls asking Billy Graham whether a “conversion experience” was necessary to become a Christian. Graham said that some people are just born Christians, no conversion necessary. The answer contradicts what Jesus said in John 3:3 “Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”  Jesus spoke not of physical birth, but being born of water and spirit: baptism, the “washing of regeneration” (Titus 3:5). No one can see the kingdom of God without it; individuals are not born Christians.

Jesus also said, “It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me” (John 6:45).  Christianity is a taught, heard, and learned religion. If someone were born a Christian, Jesus would be wrong. Someone might object, “What about Hebrews 8:11: ‘And they shall not teach every man his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest’?” This passage contrasts the Old and New Covenants.  Men were physically born under the Old Covenant as Israelites; they had to be taught as children to “Know the Lord.”  However, those who are born again are taught before conversion. So, upon entering the kingdom, they know the Lord.

There are no New Testament cases where an individual is born a Christian.  Graham’s message of salvation does not come from the Bible, but John Calvin. Calvin believed that God personally predestined all individuals to heaven or hell, and nothing can change it. Graham’s answer is consistent with Calvinism, but not the Bible.  Let’s believe the Bible, not Billy Graham.

God bless you, and I love you.

Kevin Cauley