Does Your Gospel Presentation Need a Reformation?

"Think of some of the gospel presentations you've heard given in church. You've probably heard phrases like this...." CPost

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TylerR's picture

Editor

The author is a very confused man. First he says repentance is not needed for salvation. Then, he acknowledges that it is an inseperable part of faith (ala Chafer). Then, he trots out the old tired "repent is never mentioned in the Gospel of John" line.

The man is not worth listening to on this topic. Like many conservative Christians in America, he appears to be tap-dancing around the fringes of the free grace movement.

If anyone has sincere questions on this topic, start by reading all the apostolic sermons from Acts, and outlining their content. Repentance and Christ's Lordship are clearly, emphatically taught by the apostles in their preaching ministries to the lost.

My own understanding of repentance is a Reformed view, which I briefly discuss in this handout for "normal" people.

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and works in State government. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?

T Howard's picture

Mark 1:15 settles it for me.

TylerR's picture

Editor

THoward, don't you understand? Jesus was speaking only to Jews, and the dispensation of grace hadn't yet begun!

Just kidding . . .

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and works in State government. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?

JD Miller's picture

Tyler wrote:

The author is a very confused man. First he says repentance is not needed for salvation. Then, he acknowledges that it is an inseperable part of faith (ala Chafer).

Just for clarification can you point out which section he said that repentance was not needed for salvation.  I might have missed it.  It would not be the first time, but I could not find it when I went back to reread it.  Here is what I read (I added the underline):

Did you know that the only book of the Bible written to a totally unsaved audience, the book of John, doesn't use the word "repent" once? Instead it uses the word "believe" almost one hundred times! Does that mean "repent" is a bad word? NO! NO! NO! Repent is a great word. And repentance is necessary for salvation. But the word repent is interchangeable with faith throughout the New Testament. When you repent about what or who you are trusting in, you are believing. And when you believe in Jesus, you are changing your mind about who or what you are trusting in. But to say that repentance is turning from sin and a separate act of faith implies that the book of John and Jesus himself preached an incomplete gospel. That's a dangerous if not damnable implication.

 

TylerR's picture

Editor

Turn from all your sin and you will be saved" Oops. Those who preach this as a condition of salvation forget one little thing in their salvation formula...Jesus. How can we turn from one sin (let alone all our sin) until Jesus is working from the inside out?

He denies somebody has to repent of their sin, and implies this is a post-conversion action.

The Greek word for repentance in the New Testament simply means "a change of mind". When used in the context of salvation it is used to describe a person changing their mind about who Jesus is (Acts 2:38) and what they are trusting in for the salvation of their souls.

He then claims "repentance" merely means a change of mind about who Jesus is. This cannot be sustained from a contextual word study, or from the general teaching of both testaments - particularly the apostolic sermons from the Book of Acts.

Repent is a great word. And repentance is necessary for salvation. But the word repent is interchangeable with faith throughout the New Testament.

ala Chafer; he was particularly insistent on this point. I suspect (but have not spent time tracking this down) that Chafer's nuanced position on repentance is one of the fountainheads which produced the Free Grace movement out of Dallas.

When you repent about what or who you are trusting in, you are believing. And when you believe in Jesus, you are changing your mind about who or what you are trusting in.

According to the author, repentance has nothing to do with Godly sorrow for sin and rebellion. Instead, its allegedly about "changing your mind about who or what you are trusting in."

But to say that repentance is turning from sin and a separate act of faith implies that the book of John and Jesus himself preached an incomplete gospel. That's a dangerous if not damnable implication.

He doesn't want to make repentance distinct from faith (e.g. "repent and believe the Gospel). He thinks it's folded into the concept of faith, yet he wrongly defines repentance as a mere acknowledgment of who Jesus truly is, and says it's essential for salvation, but it can't be done until Jesus works first, so logically it can't be necessary for salvation . . . and it's incoherent.

The man is ill-taught, writes badly, or both. Behind this silliness is an Arminian, synergistic soteriology. The Lordship and "no repentance" controversies hinge (in part) on whether repentance and faith follow or precede regeneration. That is the real issue, truth be told. As for me, the 1833 NHCF is very clear on the latter, and I agree.

I have no idea what this man's theological background and training is. His blog and website feature no autobiography and never mention his beliefs on anything at all. I'd stay away from the guy. There's no reason to have somebody come speak to your youth if you don't know anything about him or where he's coming from.

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and works in State government. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?

JD Miller's picture

Tyler, I thought he was suggesting that sinless perfection was not needed, not that a change of life was not to be expected.  I guess we would have to ask him to know for sure what he meant.  I do not know this man or his other teaching so I may have been missing something that I should have read more closely into his statements.  I would however agree that a change in life is a result of regeneration, not a means of regeneration.  That is also what I thought he meant.  If we confuse these thing we can really confuse the gospel.  

TylerR's picture

Editor

Maybe. Because he went on to talk about repentance, I understood him to be saying that repentance wasn't needed. Either way, it's badly written. I may be wrong about his intent.

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and works in State government. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?

josh p's picture

Tyler,

When you say conversion are you equating that with regeneration? Are they not the same act (or at least simultaneous)? If so, can you point me to a place in the Bible where a person “turns from all their sin” before hand? How can a dead person do this? 

J Ng's picture

Content's the same in an ultimate way, OT and NT, but technically since it's before Pentecost, isn't the Book of John's presentation--with or without the word repentance--before the Church and hence from the OT era?

That said, the author doesn't explore in much detail the presentations of the gospel in the Book of Acts. He does reference Acts 2 real quick, in a passage addressing Jews. How about the gospel presentations to Samaritans, Gentile seekers, and just plain ole pagans? The nuances in each might be helpful if not normative for us. O yeah, we can't ever ignore the angel-delivered "everlasting gospel" in Rev 14, can we?

Just sayin', might be good to heed the call to reform but go a bit further than the author did.