Salvation

 

 

Christians will be born again at the time of the resurrection of those who are Christ’s

 

 

The followers of Herbert W. Armstrong teach that Christians are not yet born again, for they will experience the new birth at the resurrection of those who are Christ’s. Here is what Herbert Armstrong wrote: ‘ …the Kingdom of God is something that can be seen – but not until or UNLESS one is ‘born again’. Not during his physical lifetime!the Kingdom of God is something a man may enter into – but not until after he is born AGAIN – another and entirely different birth. ….. The Kingdom of God will be composed of SPIRIT BEINGS – not of humans! At birth of human flesh, one is delivered from his mother’s womb into this world. When born of the Spirit, one will be delivered from the CHURCH of God (physical) – the mother of begotten Christians – into the KINGDOM of God (a Kingdom of SPIRIT BEINGS). Man is now composed of flesh – material substance – matter. When BORN AGAIN he will BE Spirit – a SPIRIT BEING, no longer human. He will be COMPOSED of Spirit – of Spirit composition – with life inherent – with self-containing life – not then existing by the breath of air and the circulation of blood. …… As we are now flesh, we shall be SPIRIT – at the resurrection, that is, when we shall be ‘BORN AGAIN’ – when we shall see, enter into, the Kingdom of God – when we are Spirit – at the resurrection! …… In human physical reproduction, there is a TIME ELEMENT. From impregnation – begettal on the part of the father – having conceived on the part of the mother – to BIRTH, or parturition, or being delivered from the mother’s womb is a TIME ELEMENT of nine months. That nine-month period is called gestation. Upon conception, the now fertilized ovum is called an embryo. A few months later, it is called a fetus. But during this nine-month period of gestation, we do not speak of the embryo-fetus as having been born. It is in the PROCESS toward birth. It is the child of its parents. But it is then the unborn child of its parents. The father has already begotten it – sired it. But the mother has not yet given birth to it. Yet it is, during the gestation period, the unborn child of its parents. Now in being ‘born again’, the PROCESS of this birth begins when God’s Divine Spirit-life is imparted to us by the Holy Spirit, from His very PERSON, entering to dwell within us …. …. But as the human embryo must GROW till it becomes a fetus, which must GROW to the point of being born into the human family, so the Christian in whom divine life has been started by the gift of God’s incorruptible Spirit must GROW toward perfection to be born into the God Family. ….. The resurrection – the time when we are changed to BE Spirit and to INHERIT the Kingdom will be a time of DELIVERY FROM the bondage of corruptible flesh and from this world of SIN – A REAL BIRTH! ….. Jesus was, in the human flesh – His first birth – a descendant of David. But, by the resurrection from the dead (born AGAIN), Jesus became the born Son of God, now no longer human, but composed of SPIRIT – a Spirit Being. He thus became the FIRST SO BORN of many brethren who shall be BORN AGAIN at the time of the resurrection of those who are Christ’s’ (Herbert W. Armstrong, The Incredible Human Potential, Pasadena, California, 1978, pages 169, 170, 171, 173, 175, 176).

To sum up the teaching of Armstrong about the new birth we say the following things: Christians are in the process toward the birth, the process of this birth began when God’s Divine Spirit-life was imparted to them (Armstrong calls this phase ‘begetting’) and will be completed at the resurrection, for then they will be born again and they will enter the Kingdom of God. Then they will become pure spirit (for Armstrong denies the physical resurrection of the dead) and they will become part of God’s Family. Yes, for according to Armstrong, God is a Family (composed at the moment by the Father and the Son): ‘God is, actually, a Divine FAMILY. One Family. God IS a Family. That Family is ONE GOD’ (Ibid., page 61), and at the resurrection all those who will be born again will become members of this Family, that is to say, they will become God, for that’s the plan God conceived, to reproduce Himself: ‘God made man of PHYSICAL substance, formed and shaped like God so that man could be converted – changed from matter into Spirit composition at a resurrection – a Spirit-composed member of the GOD FAMILY’ (Ibid., page 67); ‘The purpose of your being alive is that finally you will be born into the kingdom of God when you will actually be God even as Jesus was and is God and His Father a different person also is God! You are setting out on a training to become Creator, to become God’ (Just What Do You Mean Born Again?, pages 19,20)

 

 

Confutation

 

The Holy Scripture teaches that the new birth is an instantaneous experience of spiritual cleansing and re-creation which takes place in man when he repents of his sins and believes in the Gospel of the grace of God. And through the new birth he becomes a son of God, and his sonship is attested by the Holy Spirit sent by God into his heart (who is God and not an impersonal ‘it’), who bears witness with his spirit that he is a son of God. Therefore, all those who have repented and believed in the Lord Jesus Christ are born again.

Let us see some Bible verses which attest that Christians are already born again. Peter says: “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade – kept in heaven for you …” (1 Peter 1:3-4 – NIV. The NKJV reads: “ …. has begotten us again to a living hope ….”), and also: “For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God” (1 Peter 1:23 – NIV), and again: “Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk …..” (1 Peter 2:2 – NIV). I would like you to note that according to Peter those Christians to whom he wrote were babes in Christ, Peter did not regard them as people who still needed to be born again. Therefore Christians are not people who are living in period of gestation but people who have been born again, that is to say, people who were brought forth through the word of truth (cf. James 1:18). Did Paul not say: “But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all. For it is written, Rejoice, thou barren that bearest not; break forth and cry, thou that travailest not: for the desolate hath many more children than she which hath an husband. Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are the children of promise. But as then he that was born after the flesh persecuted him that was born after the Spirit, even so it is now. Nevertheless what saith the scripture? Cast out the bondwoman and her son: for the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with the son of the freewoman. So then, brethren, we are not children of the bondwoman, but of the free” (Galatians 4:26-31)? And did not the prophet Isaiah say: “Who hath heard such a thing? who hath seen such things? Shall the earth be made to bring forth in one day? or shall a nation be born at once? for as soon as Zion travailed, she brought forth her children” (Isaiah 66:8)?

There are other biblical passages which confirm that the new birth is an experience which has already taken place in those who have believed. The apostle John says: “Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: and every one that loveth him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of him” (1 John 5:1); note that those who are begotten of God are born of God. John says also: “If ye know that he is righteous, ye know that every one that doeth righteousness is born of him” (1 John 2:29), and again: “Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God” (1 John 4:7) and: “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God” (John 1:12-13)

In the light of all these Scriptures we affirm that the New Birth taught by Herbert Armstrong has nothing to do with the new birth of which the Holy Scriptures speak. Beware of all those who follow the teaching of this man, they want to deceive you.

With regard to the teaching of Armstrong on the new birth, I would like to say very briefly some other things to refute some other errors of Mr Armstrong: first of all, when Christians are raised from the dead they will obtain a physical body (like the body of Jesus), yet immortal and glorious, therefore they will not be pure spirit-beings; secondly, at the resurrection Christians will not become God nor part of the Godhead because the Godhead consists of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit and is unchanging. Let all the followers of Armstrong know, therefore, that God has never planned to reproduce Himself.

 

 

 

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