Question: In a recent newsletter, Dave Hunt refers to being "born of water" and being "born of the Spirit" as both being the spiritual birth of a person. Could you please explain that position further?
Response: There can be no question concerning "born of the Spirit." It is the expression "born of water" that raises questions. Certainly it cannot mean baptismal water, inasmuch as Paul clearly shows there is no link between baptism and the gospel of salvation: "Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel" (1 Cor:1:17). Of course, infant baptism and baptismal regeneration of any kind are grave heresies. Salvation requires faith, and baptism is only for those who have believed the gospel (Acts:2:41; 8:37;10:47,48, etc.)-impossible for a baby.
The Word of God, of course, of which the gospel is a vital part, is credited with effecting the new birth: "Being born again... by the word of God...the word which by the gospel is preached" (1 Pt 1:23,25). God's Word is depicted in many ways. It is the seed sown in Matthew 13, Mark 4, and Luke 8: "The seed is the word of God" (Lk 8:11). It is also the living water of eternal life: "If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink" (Jn:7:37); "Whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst..." (Jn:4:14); "Whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely" (Rv 22:17). It is also shown to be like water that cleanses from sin in the process of the new birth: "Ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you" (Jn:15:3); "washing of water by the word..." (Eph:5:26).
No water other than the water of life in the Word of the gospel can be meant by the phrase, "born of water." Moreover, this water of life of the Word of God is essential to the new birth.