Re: John 3:5 and the genitive

From: Paul Dixon - Ladd Hill Bible Church (
Date: Thu Mar 13 1997 - 15:12:55 EST

What is especially frustrating is that this is the verse that baptismal
regenerationists pull out of the hat as the final word that if a man is
not baptized by water, then he shall not enter the kingdom of God. I am
currently discussing this with some RGs who responded to my paper on
negative inference fallacies (find URL below) where I show logical
fallacies committed by them in Acts 2:38 and Mk 16:16.

Of course, taking hUDATOS as reference to water baptism is the least
likely, if at all possible, of the options available. The following
parallel (v. 6) suggests the water be taken as the water associated with
physical birth versus spiritual birth as denoted by PNEUMATOS paralleling
"that which is born of the spirit is spirit."

But, KAI could be taken ascensively or appositionally and the spiritual
cleansing of Ezekiel be in view.
Paul S. Dixon, pastor
Ladd Hill Bible Church "Negative Inference Fallacies.." /nif.htm
Wilsonville, Oregon "Evangelism of Christ ... /evangelism.htm
                        "Evil Restraint in 2 Thess 2:6" /restrainer.htm

On Thu, 13 Mar 1997, Eric Weiss wrote:

> Re: John 3:5 and the genitive
> (I couldn't resist correcting the spelling of "genitive")
> As I was reading this discussion, the thought occurred to me that though
> being "born again/born from above" is one of the most common evangelical
> terms - the act is considered CRUCIAL to one's salvation - we're still
> having difficulty understanding or agreeing upon what Jesus (or the
> gospel writer) meant. 3:5 (being born of water and S(s)pirit) is surely
> a further elucidation (either in deeper or plainer terms) by Jesus of
> what being "born again" (3:3) means - yet we 2,000 years later appear to
> be just as puzzled as Nicodemus was by what Jesus said. (Not to mention
> the fact that Jesus is talking about seeing or entering the kingdom of
> God, which may be different from being saved or receiving eternal life,
> the ideas which are popularly associated with being "born again.")
> "Amniotic fluid" - "John's baptism" - "semen" (called "water" in
> rabbinical terminology - I think D.A. Carson mentions this in
> EXEGETICALFALLACIES) - "natural birth" - "baptism into Christ's death
> followed by resurrection to newness of life" a la Ezekiel 37) - etc.
> What's further frustrating is that efforts to understand this by
> rational discourse and argumentation may be an impediment to
> understanding things which can only be taught and done by the Spirit.
> Oh, well...back to Greek.

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