The doctrine of biblical repentance

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by ReformedBaptist, Aug 14, 2008.

  1. ReformedBaptist

    ReformedBaptist
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    Dear BB,

    As I have continued to look at this subject I continue to see the importance of it. This is no secondary issue. This is a controversy of the Gospel itself. The non-lordship advocates have characterized the controversy in this manner. For example, quoting Ryrie from Eisenger,

    Ryrie said, "The importance of this question cannot be overestimated in relation to both Salvation and Sanctification. The message of faith only and the message of faith plus commitment of life cannot both be the gospel; therefore one of them is false and comes under the curse of perverting the gospel or preaching another gospel," (p. 170). Balancing the Christian Life

    Ryrie sets the controversy squarely on the Gospel itself and the two opposing views as one being false and the other true. This is a very serious charge. Non-lordship advocate and apologist Lou M. has done the same thing in his posts on the BB. Also, Reisinger's comment here I echo, "I do not want to believe that Charles Ryrie meant such men as Charles H. Spurgeon, John Bunyan, John Gill, John A. Broadus, B. H. Carroll, all Baptists who embrace the 1689 Confession, all Presbyterians who hold to the Westminster Confession and all Christian Reformed men who hold to the Heidelburg Catechism come "under the curse of perverting the gospel or preaching another gospel." I do not want to believe this either.

    One the of the major areas of doctrine that is a focus of this controversy is the bibliacl doctrine of repentance. As I continue to research this subject, I think its plain that there is a variety of belief within the non-lordship camp about repentance and its role in salvation. Therefore, when I represent the non-lordship position in this article, it will be of the larger body of non-lordship advocates and not one or two in particular.

    It is important to note, as Reisinger did, that "Both the Lordship and the Non-Lordship teachers believe in repentance. Their disagreements, which are not a few, stem from what they believe the Bible teaches about repentance. The differences have some serious implications and consequences affecting the cardinal doctrines of the Christian faith."

    I agree. We have on record on the BB and can find in other non-lordship advocates an affirmation of repentance as necessary for salvation. It seems to me we are all affirming repentance. But it also apparant is that repentance is being defined very differently by both groups.

    The importance of repentance is so clearly seen in Scripture it is hard to imagine how some can deny it. Some in the more radical forms of the non-lordship position have done so from what I "hear." But to underscore the importance of repentance a few Scriptures will suffice.

    "I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish." Luke 13:3 Unless a sinner repents they will perish.

    "And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel." Mark 1:15 Jesus preached the Gospel and the Gospel includes the call to repent.

    This is also seen in Luke 24:46-47, "And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behooved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem."

    The preaching of Christ and Him crucified MUST include the preaching of repentance AND remission of sins to everyone. If you are not preaching this then you are not preaching the biblical Gospel.

    In Mark 6:12 we find that the preaching of repentance was the preaching of the apostles. "And they went out, and preached that men should repent."

    It is also seen in the apostle Paul's conversation with king Agrippa. Consider, "But shewed first unto them of Damascus, and at Jerusalem, and throughout all the coasts of Judaea, and then to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, and do works meet for repentance." Acts 26:20

    Reisinger makes a key point to our subject on this: "Now, this message of repentance almost got Paul killed. "For these causes the Jews caught me in the temple, and went about to kill me" (v. 21). And one reason men avoid preaching repentance today is this very point. It will cause some waves and some antagonism from this generation of poor, lost, self-deceived church members who are products of an evangelism that has left repentance out of its message."

    I think this is sufficient to prove the importance of repentance. In my next post I will discuss a biblical definition for it.

    RB
     
  2. Thinkingstuff

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    Good stuff.
     
  3. Marcia

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    I don't think someone can truly (in truth) trust Christ and not repent. I think trusting Christ is repentance because in order to believe in Christ, one must turn away from their former beliefs and values, but I think this is part of believing in Christ.

    I think repentance and trusting Christ are part of the same process. Some may actually repent before the moment of trusting Christ - that is, see their separation from God, feel the weight of that, understand they have sinned, and see that Christ is the only Way to reconcile with God, understanding that Christ made that possible through his atonement. For others. repentance and trusting Christ may occur so close together they are simultaneous. But both repentance and trusting Christ are from the Lord, so we can't totally comprehend it.

    I don't see how man can dissect this, or say that someone must do it a certain way. God is the one who saves and although we are all saved by grace through faith, it is not exactly the same for everyone.

    Can an unbeliever repent and not trust Christ?
     
  4. ReformedBaptist

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    Briefly, and because this is one of the few summaries I can find for the non-lorship position (there is no creed for them), I want to share Reisinger's summary of the non-lordship belief. It will be helpful to see this in light of the biblical doctrine of repentance.

    Of course, all those opposed to the LS position and those who teach the non-lordship position do not subscribe to everything listed above. But I have seen some of what is listed above in the non-lordship teachers on the BB.

    So what is repentance, biblically defined?

    I think an honest look at Scripture shows that repentence is turning from sin to serve the living God and that works necessarily follow this repentance. If they do not then it likely not true repentance.

    I think this is the power of the Gospel. Consider:

    "For our gospel came not unto you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance; as ye know what manner of men we were among you for your sake. And ye became followers of us, and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Ghost. So that ye were ensamples to all that believe in Macedonia and Achaia. For from you sounded out the word of the Lord not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place your faith to God-ward is spread abroad; so that we need not to speak any thing. For they themselves shew of us what manner of entering in we had unto you, and how ye turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God; And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come." 1 Thess 1:5-10

    I notice several things in this passage. First, it was the Gospel that came to the Thessalonians. And the reception of the Gospel and the fruit of it, wasn't words only, but also power. Much can be said about this, but I observe that the true Gospel of Jesus Christ is a Gospel of power. It is not a Gospel of only words that tickle the ears. This is not to mean that the doctrine of Christ isn't intellectually profound. I believe it is. But our faith in Christ Jesus is not a merely intellectual faith. You are all very familiar with 1 Cor 1

    "For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect. For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God." v.17-18

    "And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man's wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power: That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God." 1 Cor 2:4-5

    Brethren, let me speak frankly. If the non-lordship is a position that teaches a person may "accept Jesus" or "ask Jesus in their hearts" or "make a decision for Jesus" and there be NO change in their life...then we have nothing to conclude that their message is devoid of the power of God. Could it be that those who teach such things may be those who "Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away." 2 Tim 3:5

    The Gospel of Jesus Christ is a Gospel with the power to change lives. Look at what the Gospel did among the Thessalonians! They became followers of the Apostles and of the Lord Jesus. They turned from idols (sin) to serve (works) the living and true God, and to wait for Jesus (perseverance). What a glorious and powerful Gospel!

    Repentance, if it is biblical repentance, produces works. It is a work of God's grace and is inserparable, biblically, from faith. The Bible makes no such separation. If we are not preaching repentance from dead works AND faith toward God, then we are not preaching the Gospel. If we are teaching a repentance that is sufficient as a mere intellectual change of mind that does not manifest itself in true action, then we are preaching a false and unbiblical repentance.
     
  5. Thinkingstuff

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    It seems to me a lot of theology turn on time. for example repentance. The whole question is simply is repentance necissary for salvation? We see scriptures indicate in most instances that with salvation there is repentance and one is not valid without the other. Now the understanding of how that works is based on a time issue is repentance required for salvation to be enacted or is repentance a result of salvation? When does salvation occur? When believed or believe and repent then salvation? Does salvation occur before belief and enables belief and therefore repentance? Now understanding these consepts from a God who is outside of time makes this very interesting. Does God not determine salvation on a processed event based on time intervals and sees salvation as an entire completed event which includes all the above?
     
  6. ReformedBaptist

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    I think your assessment is on target. The subject will, I think, necessarily turn to the ordus salutis topic. And that subject will turn to the Arminian/Calvinism discussion.
     
  7. Marcia

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    This is where I was fearing it was going to go! [​IMG]

    If so, count me out! :tonofbricks:
     
  8. ReformedBaptist

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    Yeah, I am not sure the subject would not necessarily follow that course. JM remarks in his book that the LS controversy is a controvery of soteriology. And I have seen LM tie in Calvinism to the LS teaching.
     
  9. webdog

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    Marcia described biblical repentance quite simply. Good job. :thumbs:
     
  10. Revmitchell

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    Turning away from former beliefs and values includes sin.
     
  11. webdog

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    There is no power to turn away from sin UNTIL one comes to Christ.
     
  12. ReformedBaptist

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    And no one comes to Christ unless they are given to HIm by the Father and drawn by the Holy Spirit. This same work of the Holy Spirit of God also brings repentance unto life.
     
  13. webdog

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    You have no argument on this from me, except how you define repentance :thumbs:
     
  14. ReformedBaptist

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    Which is why the subject of the thread is repentance. I think its a big part of the LS debate. Wouldn't you agree?
     
  15. Thinkingstuff

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    Would repentance be considered a work? If so then how does that play on soteriology?
     
  16. Revmitchell

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    Then you have a problem with what Marica said.
     
  17. webdog

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    Since Marcia didn't say turn from sin...no I don't.
     
  18. ReformedBaptist

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    My inclination is to say repentance contains works, but is a work of grace. Our confession phrases it this way:

    "...saving repentance is an evangelical grace, whereby a person, being by the Holy Spirit made sensible of the manifold evils of his sin, doth, by faith in Christ, humble himself for it with godly sorrow, detestation of it, and self-abhorrency, praying for pardon and strength of grace, with a purpose and endeavor, by supplies of the Spirit, to walk before God unto all wellpleasing in all things." Zech. 12:10; Acts 11:18; Ezek. 36:31; 2 Cor. 7:11; Ps. 119:6, 128.

    Emphasis mine.

    Edited in I think also this statement from Ernest Reisinger adds clarification too: "That true repentance consists of mental and spiritual emotion, and not of outward self-imposed chastisements. Even the pious life and devotion to God which follow are described not as repentance, but as fruits meet for repentance."
     
  19. Allan

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    Maybe in 'your' opinion this is where it has to turn but that is not or at least should not be the case.

    One must have faith in order to have true or biblical repentance. However biblcal repentance can not be done without faith since repentance is a change of mind about God and sin.

    The only thing that God will accept is that which is done 'in faith' and that includes repentance. Thus repentance is an act of faith not that repentance leads to or establishes faith. IOW - repentance is the manifestation of one's faith in Christ and if there is no repentance there is no faith, period.
     
    #19 Allan, Aug 14, 2008
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  20. Allan

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    Deleted.... by lil 'ol me :)
     
    #20 Allan, Aug 14, 2008
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