Saturday, April 25, 2009

Rich Mullins On Being Born Again

Rich Mullins On Being Born Again :
"You guys are all into that born again thing, which is great. We do need to be born again, since Jesus said that to a guy named Nicodemus. But if you tell me I have to be born again to enter the kingdom of God, I can tell you that you just have to sell everything you have and give it to the poor, because Jesus said that to one guy too…[And he paused in the awkward silence.] But I guess that’s why God invented highlighters, so we can highlight the parts we like and ignore the rest."


Rhology said...

That was in the middle of leading a chapel service at Wheaton College.

As for highlighters, Rich Mullins was right that we humans pull 'em out to suit our own desires, but the context in which he said it, ie that being born again is great but not all that we need to do to have eternal life, is heresy. If I'd known he'd said sthg like that before now, I'd never have bought any more of his music or attended his concerts or anythg (kinda like I intentionally avoid Phillips Craig and Dean, since they're Oneness and thus heretics). Were I in charge at Wheaton (and had I the courage), I would've at that very moment stepped onstage, said "thank you, Rich," proceeded to refute what he'd just said, never invited him back, and encouraged other seminaries/Christian schools to do the same.

Christian Beyer said...

Yeah, but according to some of the other things that Jesus said, being 'born again' is not sufficient to inherit eternal life. For instance, there are a items like feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, visiting the sick and imprisoned that he suggested were kind of important.

You were joking about the righteous censorship thing, correct? I doubt if that would result in your desired goal among the audience. It sounds like this type of Christian mindset was precisely what Mullins was criticizing.

Rhology said...

That's the whole point of the misunderstanding.
"You must be born again" - right smack dab in the middle of a convo about how to get to Heaven.
" did to the least of these, you did to me" DESCRIBES those whose hearts are saved already, what they will do. And a companion psg is Mark 7:21-23 - "in Your Name did we not do many wonderful works? And the King will say 'I never knew you. Depart from me evildoers.'"
What you (and Mullins) have missed is Hebrews 11:6 - w/o faith it is impossible to please God.

I admit I said the censorship thing partly for shock value. Wheaton is a place for grownups, after all. Maybe pulling Mullins off the stage would have been inappropriate. I'd just sched a talk the following week to show why he was wrong, deadly wrong, and I would certaily follow thru with the recommendation never to invite the man back to any evangelical organisation. If you're that confused about the biblical distinction between justification and sanctification, and how one is saved vs how one WORKS OUT that salvation, then one hardly belongs on stage before evangelicals. One belongs IN THE PEWS, learning from godly men who actually DO know the Scripture.
Does that make sense?

TheoPoet said...

Thanks for taking the time to comment Rhology as always insights from others are always appreciated here. Anyways, sorry it took so long to respond. For the record, I'm not sure what the context of Rich Mullins' quote is as I would have liked to have the whole speech, but from what little I do ascertain I don't believe he is saying what you want him to say. Of course, Rich believed in faith and grace and being born again. What he is saying is it's one thing to believe these things, but if one does not act on them and live them out then how can they say they believe in them.

TheoPoet said...

Thanks as always for your contributions, Christian. Well, you know what they say: John 15:19 If ye were of the world, the world would love his
own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you
out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.

Romans 12:2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye
transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove
what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

James 4:4 Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that
the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever
therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.

Titus 2:12 Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly
lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this
present world;
My question is: who gets to decide what is worldly, you, me, the Pope, Luther, Calvin, John MacArthur, the SBC, etc.? And how do we know what people consider worldly today is the same as back then including theological biases?

TheoPoet said...

Who gets to decide who these Godly men are---you, me, the Pope, Luther, Calvin, John MacArthur, the SBC, etc.?

Rhology said...

Hi Theopoet,

True, the context would be nice.
But it is a foolish statement b/c, if we are not born again, we hate God and are His enemies, as the NT makes plain. So it IS more important to talk about that, to remember it.
And God decides what is worldly and what is godly. That's why we must look to His Word - it's clearly defined there. Like in Galatians 5:12-26.
And biblically, a godly man is one who is born again and who lives according to the Word of God. It's really not that hard - postmoderns like the ones you flirt with like to complicate matters needlessly. Which is why I commend you to godly preaching and teaching, not sad sacks and empty suits like Bruce Prescott.


Anonymous said...


Do you get frequent head-aches? It seems to me that you are wearing your halo way too tight. Take a time-out and ponder life a little deeper and perhaps realize that none of us, NO NOT ONE, has it all figured out. Avoiding other Christians because they do not believe exactly the way you do does not sound like anything that Jesus ever said. In fact, I fear that you will be very uncomfortable with your neighbors in Heaven if you continue with that type of thinking. So here's a little friendly advice, have a beer (or a soft drink), catch a movie (or TV), and enjoy the life God granted you.
From one Christian who doesn't have it figured out, to another. Be God's.

Rhology said...

I guess all I'm saying is that, while no one has it ALL figured out, we can certainly have ENOUGH of it figured out SUFFICIENTLY to know when something is not what it says it is, or is said to be.
Has nothing to do with a halo I'm wearing. If you really think about it, lifting up the natural sinful man and softening how evil he is has the same mollifying effect on the glory and grace of Jesus for saving such a sinful wretch as I am.

Anonymous said...

It would help to understand that Rich Mullins was a Quaker -- not a fundamentalist Christian. Quakers generally do not believe in Sola Scriptura (Scriptures Alone), but they emphasize that God speaks to the inner light in each individual. They do not have the same theology that evangelicals have come to take for granted. Much of Evangelical faith today comes from the tradition of Baptist, Presbyterian, and Episcopalian theology streaming through various splinter denominations over many years. Quakers are a whole different group with a whole different set of ideas. That's all I'll say about it. Each can research this for himself.

TheoPoet said...

Thanks for all the new comments. I'm a fast blogger but a slow commenter...haha. Anyways, Anonymous---you are right when you say that 'none of us, NO NOT ONE, has it all figured out.' We see but through a glass darkly as Paul said.

TheoPoet said...

Rho, thanks for visiting again! It's good to be back to blogging after a summer long hiatus and what not. Hope all is well with you. We just moved my grandmother into an independent living place---so it was a busy past few weeks. She's getting along fine now.

TheoPoet said...

Anonymous to a Reformed Fundamentalist none of that matters because there is only one way to be a True Christian is to believe in the fundamentals as laid out by the fundamentalists and all 5 points of Calvinism with an extra point or 2 added in just in case those doctrines aren't pure enough. So you can't really argue with em.

Sherry said...

I think Richard Mullins hit the nail on the head. Call it a highlighter. Call it a dogma. Call it institutional religion. That's what I liked most about him. He did not flinch at calling a spade a spade. In his own special way. Cheers Richard!

TheoPoet said...

Thanks Sherry, you're right!

Anonymous said...

I just wanted to say that I agree that no one has it all figured out. Everyone interprets things differently, and we have to have faith that God is leading us. The thing I try to remind myself of is that Jesus said we are to love God, and love our neighbors as our selves. He said to love as he has loved. He didn't run away from those who had it wrong or didn't understand. He loved and embraced them. If we live out our lives showing love to all, we will show what Jesus was really about, which isn't 'traditions of men' but love. We are not here to judge one another, but to love. Leave the rest to God.

Anonymous said...

No one will probably every read this comment, but I have to make it anyway. Rich isn't saying here that a person doesn't have to be born again. He saying we highlight it and ignore the rest. Jesus says you have to give to the poor. We don't focus on that. Rich did. He gave all his income from his music to his church to be used for charity and they gave him back a salary of about 26 thousand. There is no faith vs. works controversy. You got faith you got works. If you don't have works you don't have faith. If all you do is say you believe then you don't have faith.

Friend said...

In defense of Rich Mullins, who was truly my friend.

It is rumored that Rich had the highest biblical test scores entering his Bible College. He grew up Quaker. And as far as I know, Rich did not claim to have had a typical, evangelical, I see that hand, alter call, "born again" experience. In fact, he seemed to have a hang-up on that subject.

I was raised in evangelical, "born again," churches and Rich did not look down at me for that, nor did he take what Jesus said lightly. He was not against being "born again." He was against the importance of being so-called "born again" if it were to merely encourage people to say they are something they are not.

I'm sure he was making a point that a relationship with Christ is far more important than coaxing people to resolve to claim they know the exact time and date our their "born again" experience and then proceed to live their lives without any real evidence to show for such a conversion.

As far as challenging him on or off stage (unlike many other CCM artists), Rich would have been more than happy to open up a theological debate on the spot, with anyone capable of discussing the difference between what was meant by what he said, and how far away it was from being labeled "heresy."

Anonymous said...

Hi, and just some thinking to consider. Jesus lived and taught under the Old Covenant, in order to bear the curse. Having lived sinlessly, he bore the punishment by being made sin on our behalf. At His death, the Old Covenant was replaced with the New Covenant of grace. We were ALL dead in our sin. Dead people can't reach out. We are made alive by God through Christ, and are sealed by His Spirit as a pledge, which is our rebirth through faith given to us by Him. Christians are not meant to live under the Old Covenant-that was for the Israelites. Many people think that the Old Covenant is just the ten commandments, but it's actually 613 separate laws (including animal sacrifice). We live under grace and under the commands given to us as Christians, not the commands that were intended for those under the Old Covenant. If you believe that Jesus Christ is fully God AND fully man, and that the only way to salvation is in Christ, by grace through faith (we cannot earn it, it's a gift so none can boast), that's what's necessary for salvation. The other doctrinal arguments can be worked through to unity, and in cases where one-mindedness is not attained, we can extend grace to those of a different opinion, as long as they are truly a brother or sister in Christ. May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you, and glory and honor to His precious Name.

HippieChick said...'s 3am 2013 and I'm laying here wondering about weather or not Rich has ever been born again . So I googled it and find this.
I'm sure some where in his walk he said the singer's prayer and invited Good to livein his forgive him off all he has done. In one of his concerts he was speaking about how he used to get born again and again....daily.

Rhology said...

In one of his concerts he was speaking about how he used to get born again and again....daily.

Which, sadly, demonstrates he had a serious problem with his understanding of biblical teaching.