It moves from the absolute certainty that the new birth radically changes people, to the observation that many professing Christians are indeed (as the Barna Group says) not radically changed, to the conclusion that they are not born again. The New Testament, unlike the Barna Group, does not define the new birth with the worldliness of unregenerate, professing Christians (I John 2:29; I John 3:9; I John 4:7; I John 5:4; I John 5:18)
– John Piper, Finally Alive, Christian Focus Publishers, copyright 2009, page 15
I want to say loud and clear that when the Barna Group uses the term born again to describe American church-goers whose lives are indistinguishable from the world, and who sin as much as the world, and sacrifice for others as little as the world, and embrace injustice as readily as the world, and covert things as greedily as the world, and enjoy God-ignoring entertainment as enthusiastically as the world – when the term born again is used to describe these professing Christians, the Barna Group is making a profound mistake. It is using the term born again in a way that would make it unrecognizable by Jesus and the biblical readers.
– John Piper, Finally Alive, Christian Focus Publishers, copyright 2009, page 13
In other words, in this research the term born again refers to people who say things. They say “I have a personal commitment to Jesus Christ. It’s important to me.” They say, “I believe that I will go to Heaven when I die. I have confessed my sins and accepted Jesus Christ as my Savior.” Then the Barna Group takes them at their word, ascribes to them the infinitely important reality of the new birth, and then slanders that precious biblical reality by saying that regenerate hearts have no more victory over sin than unregenerate hearts.
– John Piper, Finally Alive, Christian Focus Publishers, copyright 2009, page 14
The declaration of Jesus that we must be born again (John 3:7) is neither deluded or devastating to the one who would be captain of his soul. Not many biblical realities are better designed by God to reveal our helplessness in Sin (John 3:8). It is the Wind, not we, who finally rules the soul.
– John Piper, Finally Alive, Christian Focus Publishers, copyright 2009, page 9
We can delude ourselves into believing that sin is simply an aberration or a lack of maturity; that preoccupation with security, pleasure, and power is caused by oppressive social structures and personality quirks; that we are sinful but not sinners, since we are mere victims of circumstances, compulsion, environment, addictions, upbringing, and so forth. The Passion nails these lies and rationalizations to the Cross of Truth.
– Brennan Manning, The Importance of Being Foolish: How to Think Like Jesus, HarperOne, copyright 2005, page 184
When the fools who seek to live with the mind of Christ ask themselves “Why do I exist?” they answer “For the sake of Jesus Christ.’ If the angels ask, it is the same answer: “For the sake of Jesus Christ.” If the whole universe were suddenly to become articulate, from north to south and from east to west it would cry out in chorus, “We exist for the sake of Christ.” The name of Jesus would issue from the seas and mountains and valleys’ it would be tapped out by the pattering rain. It would be written with lightning in the skies. The storms would roar the name of “Lord Jesus Christ God-hero” and the mountains would echo it back.
– Brennan Manning, The Importance of Being Foolish: How to Think Like Jesus, HarperOne, copyright 2005, page 181
Today Christianity is largely inoffensive; this kind of religion will never transform anything. Jesus Christ the master revolutionary offended the religious and political order of Palestine. Christians too are bound to offend, and if we do not it is a bad sign – we cannot be very revolutionary.
– Brennan Manning, The Importance of Being Foolish: How to Think Like Jesus, HarperOne, copyright 2005, page 177
The fools for Christ are violent, as the gospel enjoins them to be (Matthew 11:12), but the violence is done to themselves (Galatians 5:24). There gentleness is the beautiful fruit of reverence for God, compassion for the world, and respect for themselves. Their priorities are personal, determined not by the popular religion of the day, by power politics or by the consumer culture, but by the Sermon on the Mount and the paschal mystery.
– Brennan Manning, The Importance of Being Foolish: How to Think Like Jesus, HarperOne, copyright 2005, page 176