It is one thing to say one is “born again” but quite another to be “born again”. Hypocrisy maybe?
In response to Nicodemus Jesus said, “Most assuredly, I say to you unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:3) Clarifying, Jesus said “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.” (John 3: 5)
Putting those two verses together we get a definition of “born again”. It is being born of water and the Spirit in order to enter the kingdom of God and Nicodemus should have understood this from scripture because he was a teacher of Israel (John 3: 10) The Old Testament teaches the use of water to symbolically take a man from being unclean (as in defiled) to becoming clean (as in undefiled) to be presentable to God. (Numbers 19: 17-19, Ezekiel 36: 24-25) It also describes God placing his Spirit in the people of Israel (Ezekiel 36: 26-27) so that they will walk in His statutes. Thus “born again” is having gone from a defiled state of sin to one of being undefiled, not because of works, but as a result of Jesus washing those sins away. to be presentable to God.
Barna (2017) in connection in the study cited below stated the criteria for “born again” is “those who believe they will experience an afterlife in the presence of God because they have confessed their sins against Him and accepted Jesus Christ as the redeemer who saves them from eternal punishment”.
Biblical worldview applies to individuals who have made a personal commitment to Christ that remains important in their life and who believe they will go to Heaven after they die because they have confessed their sins and accepted Jesus Christ as their Savior
As these definitions have the same meaning. One would expect those declaring “born again” to meet the criteria for a Biblical worldview. Based on beliefs a significant number do not.
In a study for the American Culture and Faith Institute (Barna 2017) reported that only 30% of “born again” adults actually meet the criteria of a Biblical world view even though 79% of them declare that they do. As examples, 24% do not believe the Bible is the inerrant word of God, 30% do not believe the Bible is accurate in its life teachings, only 46% read the Bible at least once weekly, 67% believe having a faith is more important than what faith a person accepts, half agree Jesus sinned because he was human, about 60% believe good works can gain heaven, less that 40% share their faith at least once monthly and most troubling less than half believe the Bible contains absolute moral truths.
These beliefs are not too different from the beliefs expressed by those who left the church. Thus it appears that the “born agains” who do not meet the Biblical worldview criteria are “born again” in their own minds.
Most concerning is that self declaring “Born agains” who do not demonstrate a Biblical world view appear to our youth as a demonstration of hypocrisy. One of the reasons cited by youth for leaving the church is hypocrisy. Be careful what you declare.