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by Al Carden

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Oct. 29, 2017

I have debated within myself whether I should share this reflection. The thoughts that give rise to my current imaginings, due to my evangelical upbringing, have not been forthcoming until recently. As it occurs to me now, what I wish to share in this post has persistently and subtly made itself known to me. I suppose it could be compared to someone softly clearing their throat in order to gain my attention while not forcing the issue but more in a humble fashion waiting for me to notice. What I wish to reflect upon in no way is meant to coerce, convince or persuade anyone to my present way of thinking. Rather, if you have taken your valuable time to read this reflection, then perhaps you will take some additional time to simply give thought to the possible possibilities that may be lurking in the dark.

In a number of ways what I wish to share now I have already hinted at in several other entries. This entry, however, will be like taking another step to hopefully bring a clearer distinction from where I have been to where I am. When I made the discovery in the King James Version of the Bible that the reference found in the gospel of John chapter 3 and verse 3 was incorrectly translated from the Greek, I didn’t know what to do with this discovery at first. The phrase in question is “born again.” The idea that anyone wishing to be a believer in Jesus Christ had to go through some kind of ritual propagated by church leadership and it was simply accepted at face value. There were so many voices that continually re-enforced this notion. From President Jimmy Carter to Billy Graham’s sermons you heard this notion shouted from his and other pulpits around the world.

The greek word that has turned my world upside down is “anouthen.” It means “from above.” Jesus wasn’t telling Nicodemus that he needed to be born again. He was telling him that he was already “born from above.” That is how he was able to recognize that Jesus must have come from God in order to do the miracles he performed of which Nicodemus was a witness. This same word “anouthen” is used in James 1:17. Every good and perfect gift comes “from above.” What occurs to me is that the evangelical church, among others, has taken a misinterpretation of a scripture passage of which they have created a doctrine. This all started sometime after the year 1611 when the King James Bible first appeared and for approximately four hundred and six years this idea has been forced and re-enforced upon countless millions of people.

The word doctrine means a particular principle, position, or policy taught or advocated, as of a religion or government; something that is taught; a body or system of teachings related to a particular subject. What I hold up for us to reflect on is the stark difference between born again and born from above. The doctrine of salvation in the evangelical church I grew up in indicated that there was something a person had to do in order to become a believer in Jesus. The only doing was done by Jesus Christ himself. When I made this and other discoveries connected to this truth it changed everything. I have put aside denominationalism and the insistent demands leveled upon those still lurking in that darkness.

As we continue to reflect on the difference between these two statements I simply suggest that you not take my word for it. Ask the Spirit. I have wandered around in the dark most of my life. You may think that I still have that tendency and you may be right but my desire and awareness is that the only Light I have access to is Jesus the Anointed One. And the Light shines in the darkness and the darkness cannot overpower it.