Born again Christians experience a rebirth or second blessing in accepting Jesus Christ as their savior. The idea stems from the earlier "born again" developments that emphasized re-baptizing believers through the Holy Spirit to bring Christ and God into their lives.
These six events reveal how born again Christianity evolved:
The Holiness Movement began in the mid-19th century when Christians felt churches had swayed away from the spiritual emphasis in the Bible, says the Oral Roberts University.
A pivotal event occurred when a number of prominent ministers left the Methodist Episcopal Church in 1843 to form the Wesleyan Methodist Church, which devoted more worship to praising the literal word of God through the Bible. This included sanctifying ceremonies in which people were re-baptized by experiencing the Holy Spirit.
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The movement spread with the first National Holiness Association camp meeting in 1867 in Vineland, New Jersey, celebrated by 10,000 people who received the Holy Spirit, according to Christianity Today.
A second event the next year in Manheim, Pennsylvania, attracted more than 20,000 people. The association became the Christian Holiness Partnership, an international organization that promotes holiness worship.
Receiving the Holy Spirit included speaking in tongues by believers in the Pentecostal movement of the early 20th century. The words spoken by the recently baptized indicated they were receiving the Holy Spirit, evidence that they had been re-born in the spirit of Christ. A Pentecostal revival in 1906 at Azusa Street in Los Angeles drew thousands of worshipers during a three-year period.
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The "Jesus movement" of the early 1970s included a similar type or worshiping. The "Jesus people" or "Jesus freaks," as they were called, emerged from the hippie era following the turmoil of 1960s from the Civil Rights movement and the Vietnam War protests. They combined old Pentecostal beliefs with contemporary Christian music.
In 1976, Jimmy Carter announced he was a born again Christian during the presidential campaign. The same year Chuck Colson, a convicted Watergate conspirator in the Nixon administration, released his book "Born Again," which examined his evolution to a new Christianity during his time in prison. The book was made into a film.
The late 1970s brought many celebrities to the forefront in their acceptance of Christ and their announcements they had become born again Christians. Bob Dylan, a rock icon, released rock-gospel albums that centered on his conversion.
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