Sunday, May 30, 2010

The Doctrine of Repentance

Repentance is a HUGE topic!!! My friend Lou is running a series about repentance right now that's written by another friend Phillip Evans. It's entitled "Clearing Up Repentance." I haven't read all of it, but I trust Brother Evans, and what I have read is good.

There is much argument about Repentance in the various circles I run in. Did you know that repentance is only mentioned (by name) by the Apostle Paul once in the greatest theological work ever recorded - the Book of Romans.
Romans 2:4
Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance?
Now we know Paul (by inspiration of God) recorded the most complete teaching of the Gospel and Christianity in the book of Romans. The one time he uses the word "repentance" in this work it is about what exactly? It is about people judging others for their behavior when they are themselves guilty of the same thing.

It is exactly the same teaching as Jesus Christ;
Luke 13:1-5
1 There were present at that season some who told Him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. 2 And Jesus answered and said to them, “Do you suppose that these Galileans were worse sinners than all other Galileans, because they suffered such things? 3 I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish. 4 Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them, do you think that they were worse sinners than all other men who dwelt in Jerusalem? 5 I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish.”

I think the main problem that men have with understanding the doctrine of Repentance is that we try to harmonize the context of every usage of the word by translators. See in the original languages there are several words and phrases that translators use the words "repent" and "repentance" in place of, yet the original meanings are VERY different from each other.

We run into a similar problem with the doctrine of Love. There are many words for love in Hebrew and Greek, and each has it's own specific meaning. We talk much about God's Agape Love, and how we humans can't really have that same kind of love because it is completely selfless.

The Lordship Salvation (LS) proponents harmonize all the English usage of "repentance" and apply that harmonized meaning to every usage in order to drive the context. Then they will use that assumed context to argue against the biblical concept of Salvation being by grace through faith - apart from works, in accordance with Romans 4.

However, can you imagine if we harmonized all the meanings of Love and said that a person didn't really have "love" unless they fulfilled all the various meanings that Love covers in the Bible? You guessed.. .no human would ever actually "love" because no human could ever "agape love."

Likewise the harmonized meaning of Repentance can't ever be fulfilled by a human, saved or otherwise. In the end the "turn or burn" message that says you must make/confess as/receive as/ "Lord of your life" Jesus in order to be saved ends up really meaning "give lip service to the Lordship of Christ" because no one can actually live up to the standard demanded the LS proponent must allow disobedience in the one who has Jesus as Lord. Thus He is "Lord" of one's life in name only, not in power.

That is offensive to me, and it ought to be offensive to anyone who truly knows that Jesus the Christ IS LORD.

Now if you want to study what I'm talking about here, and see for yourself how wrong it is to harmonize all the English renderings of "repentance" into one meaning then I HIGHLY suggest you take the free course "The Doctrine of Repentance" at the Bible Broadcasting Network Bible Institute. It's free and has about 5 hours of audio teaching.

If you don't, you only have yourself to blame.


Lou Martuneac said...


Thanks for your contribution to this major doctrinal theme. Repentance is where much of the controversy over the Lordship Salvation interpretation of the Gospel revolves.


David Wyatt said...

Thanks bro. Kev for including the link to BBN's BI course on repentance. Dr. Seymour is so thoroughly biblical in his dealing with it, it is very difficult to argue with his conclusions. God Bless!

Kevl said...

Hey David,

I had one concern with the course; at one point Dr. Seymour almost goes to the point of saying that sin is not an issue between the lost sinner and God. It is true that the primary issue is disbelief - however, that disbelief leaves one in their sins.

The Spirit's convincing and convicting ministry to the lost is our primary ally when we witness to someone. They need to know the trouble they are in if they are going to understand the Solution.


Jan said...


I went to that site and signed up for their courses. I listened to the first one on repentance and must listen to it again. It seems like a good site with lots of great teachers. I'm going to go through maybe all of their stuff eventually. Thanks!

I will have to listen for that comment about sin not being an issue, though.


Kevl said...

Hi Jan for the most part the teaching is spot on! I've been loving access to it. They even have my very favourite teacher - Renald E Showers. He teaches about Dispensationalism and God's plan for History.

The course on James is a bit of bizarre departure from Dispensationalism and the classic Grace belief system however.

Perhaps Brother Wyatt can use some influence to have them approach Dr. Lybrand for a teaching on the book. :)


David Wyatt said...

Bro. Kev,

I apologize for the delay in answering your excellent point. I just now noticed your posts. I had not noticed that, you have a very valid point. I wish he had made that clearer, though the course is so helpful on this majorly important topic. We've had people tell us that this course has cleared up some of their thinking on it. I love the BI, even though I may be a bit biased! I didn't realize Dr. Lybrand had teaching on James. I'd love to check it out! Thanks again for pointing folk to the BI. God Bless.

Kevl said...

Hi David,

Oh no worries. I've been so slow to post anything here I'm surprised anyone is stopping by at all. I do intend on getting into a regular schedule again soon though.

Search for Back To Faith by Lybrand at Amazon. This book is hands down fantastic. I actually had to take time off work because I could not put it down.

I learned some things about James 2 that resound in my mind daily. For example the whole "Show me your faith by your works" phrase is actually in the mouth of James' proposed objector. James responds by calling his objector a "foolish man"

It is so easy for us to be led astray, it astounds me!

You can find him at his blog


Kevl said...

Oh David,

Yes this teaching is my "go to" teaching on Repentance because it is SO complete!!

I've taken a book of notes on it myself.


David Wyatt said...

Hey thanks bro. Kev. I'd like to take a look at bro. Lybrand's work on James. So good to hear from you. Have a wonderful Independence weekend brother!

Kevl said...

Hey David,

Here are some thoughts I posted after reading through his work on James 2.

I've come to be very suspicious of theology that creates "tension" with parts of Scripture. His teaching is frank, and rich, but the most value I've gotten out of it is the confidence that God really did write the Bible to be understood. When we have to invent the idea of "tension" between doctrines to explain why they don't agree, that's an indication that we're wrong about something. For God "cannot lie" and He tells us to be perfect as the Father is perfect. To not even give the appearance of sin. This leads me to think that tension isn't what He intended with His Word.


David Wyatt said...

Excellent! Now I can't wait to get his book! God Bless you bro. Kev.