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Experiencing Spiritual Rebirth: A Profound Journey Unveiled in “The Normal Christian Birth” by David Pawson – Book review

Published On: August 16th, 2023Categories: Book ReviewsBy
the normal Christian Birth by David Pawson

“The Normal Christian Birth: How to Give New Believers a Proper Start in Life” by David Pawson is an essential piece of  timeless literature that unravels the intricate process of spiritual rebirth in a profound and comprehensive manner. With an in-depth examination of the four Biblical steps that he presents, together with illuminating scriptural references, Pawson guides the reader through the life changing journey of being born again, ultimately providing new believers with a solid foundation for their faith.

Step 1: Repentance Toward God

Pawson’s examination of the first step – repentance toward God – is both enlightening and thought provoking. He delves into the concept of repentance, contrasting and differentiating it with regret and remorse, and clarifying it as “godly sorrow” and a radical turning of heart and mind toward God’s gracious offer of forgiveness. By drawing from key passages such as Acts 2:38 – “Peter replied, ‘Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins’”(NIV), and 2 Corinthians 7:9 – “I now rejoice, not that you were made sorrowful, but that you were made sorrowful to the point of repentance; for you were made sorrowful according to the will of God, so that you might not suffer loss in anything through us.” (NASB), Pawson effectively portrays repentance as an essential first step in the transformative journey of being born again.

The resonance of scriptures like Isaiah 55:7 – “Let the wicked forsake their ways and the unrighteous their thoughts. Let them turn to the LORD, and he will have mercy on them, and to our God, for he will freely pardon.” (NIV), echoes Pawson’s emphasis on God’s boundless mercy and the call for sincere turning. Through his profound insights, Pawson reminds readers that repentance is not just about acknowledging wrongdoings, but that real repentance takes place in our thoughts, words, and deeds, and ignites a spiritual shift that paves the way for a renewed relationship with God.

Step 2: Belief in Jesus Christ

Pawson’s treatment of the second step – belief in Jesus Christ – solidifies the fact that faith is the most significant and essential part of the Christian walk, and that the other steps would be completely pointless if they are not rooted and originated in faith. He proposes that faith in Christ is not simply an intellectual exercise or agreement, but a deep, heartfelt trust in the redeeming work of Jesus on the cross. Referencing passages like John 3:16 – “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” (NKJV), Pawson masterfully portrays that belief in Christ as the savior is the bridge between humanity and God’s redeeming love.

Pawson unravels the multiple dimensions and facets of true faith, revealing that just professing that one has faith does not necessarily make it so. He continues to demonstrate that Scripture gives five foundational facets of full faith and that neither one of these should be neglected. These five facets are that “faith is historical, faith is personal, faith is verbal, faith is practical, and that faith is continual.” He continues in the book to examine all of these facets in greater detail and brilliantly exegetes supporting Scripture for each one.

Step 3: Baptism in Water by Immersion

The third step that David Pawson investigates in “The Normal Christian Birth,” is that of – baptism in water by immersion – and it is both vivifying and biblically anchored. He recognizes that including water baptism as a foundational step in the “born again” Christian experience might cause widespread unrest as some would fear that it might lead one to a “salvation by works” doctrine. He continues to clarify why this is not the case and gives a plethora of Scripture backing up this claim. By drawing from scriptures such as Romans 6:4 – “We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life” (NIV), Pawson effectively conveys the profound spiritual and faith based significance of this step.

The resonance of verses like Mark 16:16 – “Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.” (NIV), and 1 Peter 3:21 – “Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ,” (ESV), underscores the inseparable link between belief and baptism. He also addresses questions around baptism that frequently feature like, where did the practice originate from?, how is it done?, why is it done?, when is it done?, and the age old question on infant baptism. Pawson’s exploration of this step as an physical expression of an spiritual transformation, highlights the public affirmation of one’s commitment to Christ.

Step 4: Receiving the Holy Spirit by the Laying on of Hands

Pawson’s treatment of the fourth and final step – receiving the Holy Spirit – is an inspiring culmination of the spiritual rebirth journey. He emphasizes the role of the Holy Spirit as the divine guide, comforter, and empowerer of believers. By referencing Acts 8:17 – “Then they laid their hands on them and they received the Holy Spirit.” (ESV), and Acts 19:6 – “And when Paul had laid his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they began speaking in tongues and prophesying.” (ESV), Pawson beautifully captures the transformative impact and power of the Holy Spirit’s indwelling.

Through passages like Galatians 5:22-23 – “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” (NASB), Pawson highlights the tangible fruit that the Holy Spirit bears in the lives of believers. He continues, in this section, to examine the distinctness of this step in relation to the others and its absolute necessity as part of the “born again” process, as well as the specific descriptive language that is used throughout the New Testament to portray the richness of this specific event in the life of a believer.


In “The Normal Christian Birth,” David Pawson’s meticulous and comprehensive exploration of the four steps of spiritual rebirth presents a masterful tapestry of biblical wisdom and spiritual insight. Through impressive scriptural references and profound commentary, Pawson unveils the transformative journey of repentance, belief, baptism, and receiving the Holy Spirit (RBBR). This book stands as a beacon of light for new believers, providing them with a solid foundation to embark on their faith journey with clarity, depth, and unwavering conviction. Pawson’s work resonates as an enduring guide, enriching the spiritual walk of believers by unpacking the profound beauty of being born again in Christ.

Down below is David Pawson’s first section of a six part video series on “The Normal Christian Birth”

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