Even today, many people view born again Christians as a “subset” of Christianity; the extreme right-leaning, Christian Conservative segment of the Christian population. Or worse, they view this group as the less sophisticated portion of the Christian population; those poison-drinking,  snake-handling, farm-dwelling kinds of people so portrayed by comedians and talk show hosts, and who built ideologies around obscure scripture. They are “those people” who actually believe that God created man and woman, the way it is depicted in the Bible (you can add a small smirk at this point). It is as if being born again somehow makes one a different type of Christian than mainstream Christianity. Born again Christians are different than “regular” Christians.
President Carter, with a bachelor’s in physics from the United States Naval Academy, certainly caused people to think again about this Christian stereotype. He was educated and articulate and obviously sincere in his beliefs. And he certainly paved the way for a renaissance in professing presidential believers. And perhaps, post-Watergate, America was looking for simplicity and honesty in its President.
But here’s a fact that may surprise you. Journalists did not coin the term born again. Jesus did. Jesus taught in parables and metaphors, using real world examples of things that anyone could understand. Nicodemus, one of the leaders of the Jewish religious establishment asked Jesus what was required in order to achieve true salvation with God. The religious establishment at that time was very rule-oriented and adhered strictly to Mosaic law, as described in the Old Testament. Nicodemus was well-educated in the law and I’m sure conversant on the nuances and intricacies of it. But I imagine that having this vast knowledge left him feeling unfulfilled. He wanted to know what could make him truly right with God. Jesus responded to Nicodemus, “'Very truly I tell you, unless one is born again, he cannot be in God’s Kingdom.”
Jesus used the term born again as a metaphor for the Christian conversion experience. Nicodemus, as a leader of the Jewish religious establishment, must have believed that we earn our way into Heaven by practicing an intricate regimen of religious rituals. But he was apparently so caught up in his own religious “trees” that he couldn’t see the “forest”. He clearly misunderstood Jesus’ metaphor. He responded by saying that Jesus couldn’t possibly be talking about re-entering His mother’s womb. He asked “But if a person is already old, how can he be born again? He cannot enter his mother’s body again. So how can a person be born a second time?”
Jesus was saying that in order to make it to Heaven, we have to start from spiritual scratch. We must have so profound a spiritual experience that it can only be compared to a second birth. This experience is caused by the influence of the Holy Spirit, which comes from God and so changes us that there is no doubt that it came from God. Jesus used the “new birth” metaphor to describe the transformation that occurs in one’s entire being, in order to enter heaven. To those who have been through it, or are going through it, a “rebirth” metaphor hits the nail on the head. Once a person commits to this change and allows God to handle it, their life is so transformed, so radically change from the way they were before, that it is like they started completely over again, from scratch. They truly become new people. The single most important thing any Christian can point to as evidence for the reality of the Christian experience is their personal transformation- what they were like before and what they are like after encountering the notion of Jesus.
As result, all Christians are born again. The exchange between Jesus and Nicodemus tells us that being born again is an essential part of being a Christian. Jesus required it. We simply can’t help it. God begins to change all of us once we accept Jesus into our lives in such a way that the only way to describe it is as being born again. If you claim to be a Christian and your life has not changed since you accepted Christ, then it is unlikely that you have truly accepted Christ. So, when we accept the doctrine of salvation as described by Jesus, we become God’s instruments through the work of the Holy Spirit. And God’s Holy Spirit so radically changes us that the only adequate way of describing this transformation is as being born again.  “Fundamentalism” is a term used to describe Christians who believe in the literal accuracy of the Bible and of the events contained in the Bible, such as the virgin birth and the physical resurrection of Jesus. The Fundamentalist movement was a response to increasing liberalism and relativism which challenged the validity of some of these precepts.
 There are certain groups, typically in the deep South that believe, based upon the description in Mark 16:17-18 that “And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well.”
 Watergate refers to the hotel in Washington, D.C. which housed the offices of the Democratic National Committee (the “DNC”). The-President Nixon became embroiled in a controversy arising from the alleged break-in of the DNC by a team of burglars allegedly funded by the Committee to Re-elect the President.
 John 3:1-5.
 Mosaic law refers to the Old Testament laws as described in the books of Leviticus and Deuteronomy. If you’ve never read them, take a quick look through them. You’ll be amazed at the intricate detail found in these laws, intended to deal with a wide variety of situations in life.
 John 3:3.
 John 3:4.
 John 3:10-31.
 John 3:3.
 It would probably be useful for you to read through the entire exchange at John 3:1-21. Jesus describes to Nicodemus the essential tenets of the Christian faith, that is, what all Christians believe: (1) that Jesus came down from Heaven and was crucified; (2) that the purpose of this crucifixion was to save mankind; (3) that everyone who believes in Jesus will have eternal life; (4) that the crucifixion allowed God’s Holy Spirit to dwell in all of those who believe, and (5) that the Holy Spirit causes people to be so changed that the only adequate way of describing it is as being “born again”.
 John 3, 16, Romans 8.