More people are calling themselves "born again" than at any time in the last 30 years, according to data from an annual survey. What's more, they aren't only evangelicals.
Use of the term "born again" is almost equally common among evangelicals and black Protestants at somewhere just south of 80 percent, according to Professor Ryan Burge, using data from the annual General Social Survey. But Catholics and mainline Protestants are also increasingly describing themselves as "born again."
Dr. Richard Land, president of Southern Evangelical Seminary, isn't surprised.
"We've got two countervailing trends going on in American religious life," he explains to OneNewsNow. "We've got a rise of people who are dropping away – but at the same time, the people who are still religious are more religious; they're more devout."
According to Burge, the definition of the term has broadened over the last few years, from "a touchstone experience for many evangelicals" to "a way to indicate that people of other faiths are devout believers."
But even going by the classic definition, Land says he's seeing more and more Catholics, black Protestants, and mainliners who have actually been born again.
"It's not what your denominational affiliation is," he states. "It's whether you have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ."
And that definition, according to the seminary head:
"Romans 10:9 says that if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus Christ – that means that Jesus is your Lord and Savior – and thou shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead thou shalt be saved."