Monday, January 12, 2009

Free Grace Issue #1: Repentance

I'd like to begin our discussion of the errors of the Free Grace\Easy-Believism camp by discussing their teaching on the issue of repentance. Before we do, a few points of housekeeping are in order.

  • The discussion will take place in the comments section. I'm not going to post replies to specific issues in the main part of the blog.
  • Since I'm plain old busy (writing and editing tracts, blogs, doing ministry, small business, family and my own walk with Christ), I just don't care much for debate. My goal here is to expose false teaching and proclaim the truth, not debate it. Debate is usually fruitless when it comes to doctrine unless you're playing by the same rules (hermeneutics). The Free Grace camp does not play by sound rules of hermeneutics, so debating these points doesn't accomplish much. I'll respond to comments that have something to do with the main issues, but I'm not going to repeat myself.
  • The tactic of trolling will be met with complete apathy and deletion of the offending comment. If you're not sure what trolling is, I think Wikipedia has a decent article on it.

The Free Grace Teaching on Repentance

To be fair, there are two main teachings in the free grace on repentance. Those who seem a little more moderate in their view (e.g. Charles Ryrie) view repentance as a "change of mind" regarding the person of Christ. They hold that the Greek term for "repent" means "to change one's mind" according to the usage of the term in the classical Greek. Therefore, whenever someone in the New Testament says "repent" it must mean to change one's mind about the facts of the Gospel. They do not believe that it means "turn from sin" because this would be a "work".

Charles Ryrie holds this position in his book "So Great Salvation". Using the example of Peter's sermon at Pentecost, he states that Peter tells the audience to repent of their conceptions of Jesus of Nazareth. He says, "That repentance saves" (page 86, emphasis Ryrie's).

The Free Grace camp as a whole (both the moderate and the extreme) make much of the fact that the word "repent" does not appear in the Book of John. They consider this to be strong evidence of the fact that repentance from sin is not necessary for salvation since John was written for an evangelistic purpose (Jn. 20:31). Their logic runs, “If repentance from sin was necessary for salvation, then John would have included it in his writing.” Both camps (represented by Ryrie and Hodges) hold to this idea. It has been rightly pointed out that many other concepts important to evangelism are not mentioned in John's Gospel, including hell. Does that mean that we shouldn't mention hell in our witness?

The more extreme view of repentance comes from the late Zane Hodges. Hodges, in an incredible massacre of the Biblical text and the principles of systematic theology, says that repentance is nothing more than “fellowship with God”. Specifically, he says, “The call to repentance is the call to enter harmonious relations with God” (Absolutely Free, page 145). How does he arrive at this definition? He examines the uses of the word “repent” in Luke and states that the word always occurs in the context of Jesus sitting down and having a literal meal with someone. As a result, he can write, “It is all about the sinner ‘sitting at the table’—having fellowship with—God” (page 149). I wonder what he would have said if the Lord had mentioned the word “repent” only in the context of gathering figs or walking on the water? What interpretation would he have arrived at then?

Emergent Church leaders like Rob Bell have embraced a similar definition of repentance. I have heard Bell say “If anyone tells you that you need to repent from sin, they are not teaching Biblical Christianity.” In his “The Gods are Not Angry” tour stop in Dallas, he re-defined repentance in a way that is similar to Hodges’ view. This should give the Free Grace camp serious reason to pause and consider what they are saying. Bell’s universalistic view of Christianity is well known and reported.

Interestingly, Hodges shoots down the moderate FG view of repentance when he says, “The standard Greek-English dictionary (Bauer-Gingrich-Danker Lexicon) does not list any New Testament passage where the meaning ‘to change one’s mind’ occurs” (page 146). So much for Ryrie’s assertion. Shot down in a blaze of glory by somewhat “friendly fire.”

The Biblical Teaching on Repentance

Now that we’ve considered the basic teachings of the two parts of the FG camp on repentance, we can examine what the Bible actually says in the light of sound hermeneutics.

It would seem that much of the FG argument, in the case of Ryrie’s position, rests upon the Classical Greek usage of the term for “repent.” To read some of the material from the FG camp, one would think that they believe that the Hebrew usage of the term in the Old Testament is irrelevant. However, as The Complete Biblical Library (TCBL) states, “Any understanding of repentance in the New Testament must first and foremost rest upon its Old Testament foundation” (volume 4, page 173).

In fact, this is true no matter what Greek word study one does. In any serious word study, the Hebrew background is given serious consideration. Not so with the FG camp. It is as if they are saying that the apostles (as well as Jesus Himself) would abandon their Jewish upbringing in the Torah and the Prophets simply because a pagan Greek might have used the term to mean “change of mind” (which according to Hodges, doesn’t happen in the NT anyway). To even suggest this is ludicrous in the extreme, but it is the unspoken assertion of the Ryrie FG camp.

The TCBL states this about the Hebrew term for “repent”: “The thought of ‘returning to God’ and His covenant purpose as well as the idea of ‘turning away from sin’ and rebellion is inherent in shuv” (ibid.). As Ezekiel 18:21, 30-31 so aptly illustrates, repentance in the Jewish mindset clearly meant “turning from sin.” It is this idea that would have predominant in the minds of the apostles considering their rich Jewish heritage in the Old Testament.

Kittel’s Theological Dictionary of the New Testament builds on this foundation, making the case that the New Testament usage of the term “repent” comes directly from the Old Testament. It states, ““…the terms have religious and ethical significance along the lines of the OT and Jewish concept of conversion, for which there is no analogy in secular Greek (volume 4, page 999, emphasis mine).

That Pauline theology is saturated with the concept of Biblical repentance (turning from sin as well as turning to God), there can be no doubt. Kittel states, “In Christian rather than Hellenistic terms, he (Paul) regards metanoia as ‘the change of thought and will which releases from evil and renders obedient to the will of God” (4:1005, emphasis mine). Further, “…the concept of a radical transformation effected by the revelation of God in Christ is still for Paul the foundation of his whole theology. And this is precisely the thought of conversion as understood by Jesus” (ibid.).

The Free Grace movement asserts that it is not necessary to repent from sin on the one hand. On the other, some wildly assert that it means fellowship with God. But no less of an authority than Kittel (which happens to sit on the shelves of the DTS library, apparently unused) makes it very clear that the term must include “radical transformation” and “release from evil.” It is this intent that the New Testament writers included in their conception of repentance.

A final word on this issue. Regarding those who claim that repentance is a work, may I draw your attention to 2 Timothy 2:25? Repentance is a gift from God; it has nothing whatsoever to do with something that can be worked up emotionally. Man will not repent unless God does a sovereign work in his life. Otherwise, he will continue to crave and coddle his sin.

When we preach the Gospel, we have a holy obligation to call the lost to repentance and faith (Acts 3:19; 20:21). Anything less than that is not the Gospel.

Some Great Men of God on Repentance

“Yet remember, though He condescendeth to reason, to persuade, to [call], and to beseech, still His Gospel hath in it all the dignity and force of a command. If we would preach it in these days as Christ did, we must proclaim it as a command from God, attended with a divine sanction and not to be neglected, save at the infinite peril of a soul…’Repent ye’ is as much a command of God as ‘Thou shalt not steal.’” --C.H. Spurgeon

“The man whose little sermon is ‘repent’ sets himself against his age, and will for the time being be battered mercilessly by the age whose moral tone he challenges. There is but one end for such a man—‘off with his head!’ You had better not try to preach repentance until you have pledged your head to heaven.” --Joseph Parker

“Both the law and the gospel must be preached; the law to give birth to repentance and the gospel to lead to faith. But they must be preached in their proper order, first the law to bring repentance and then the gospel to work faith and forgiveness—never the other way around.” --William Perkins

“Wouldst thou know when thou hast been humbled enough for sin? When thou art willing to let go thy sins.” --Thomas Watson

"Repent therfore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord..."-- The Apostle Peter (Acts 3:19)

"And the times of this ignorance God overlooked, but now commandeth all men everywhere to repent." --The Apostle Paul (Acts 17:30)

"Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." --Jesus Christ (Matthew 4:17)

23 comments:

gereja said...

Hi John,

Can you delineate sound hermeneutics in outline and what are the errors of hermeneutics of the Free Grace guys? It would help us see the root of the matter under discussin. And I assume the sound hermeneutics is the one you use to produce your essay.

Thank you
Lu Mo Nyet

Trevor said...

I had been looking forward to this opportunity to openly discuss issues related to Free Grace theology, and felt it was an excellent idea to stick to one specific strand of the subject at a time.

However, I do feel disappointed - not by your views on repentance which I would have expected, but by your second request in the 'housekeeping' section.

What is a debate? The first definition on dictionary.com says: a discussion, as of a public question in an assembly, involving opposing viewpoints.

Hence a debate IS a form of discussion, so why would you not welcome a debate on the matter of repentance, or further issues?

I could accept not wanting a 'heated' debate. I personally don't like 'competitive' debates which are designed to encourage pride rather than the seeking of truth.

To further say that "the Free Grace camp does not play by sound rules of hermeneutics" in the 'housekeeping' section struck me as strange to say the least. It is almost as if one of the housekeeping rules states: "watch out for the Free-Gracer. He cheats!!"

You have made your views clear on Free Grace theology but I would at least have expected the courtesy for such disagreement to be stated WITHIN the discussion, rather than prior to it.

You made several points on repentance that I would like to research and address soon, particularly in defence of Free Grace views (but hopefully with sufficient honesty to state the areas I feel I cannot be dogmatic about). But your opening words have hardly been the friendliest to people like myself.

In your eyes we may be wrong, and thus the exposing of lies is necessary (we on the FG-side appreciate this sentiment too!), but please acknowledge that, for all you know, our views could be held in the deepest sincerity. Is questioning our integrity going to help us see things your way? Is that not the spirit of debate you clearly have asked others to avoid using?

I admit that many in the FG camp use the same tone with their theological 'opponents'. I find this just as wrong.

I trust you see my comments as a questioning of your opening paragraph, and not (yet) on your repentance views.

I ask that you include this in the thread though I know it does not yet touch directly on the repentance theme. I feel it is important to see that we will get 'a fair say' in this discussion.

Perhaps you can correct me on what I have said if I have misinterpreted, misread, or misrepresented you.

Trevor

Jon Speed said...

Trevor,

In my posts, I am making a clear, dogmatic stance on what I think the correct position is. I am also calling a "spade a spade" as I see it.

I don't want to debate whether or not to debate, but I think my statement about time constraints is pretty clear. I don't have time for it. In the posts, I am stating the FG position as it is taught and my response to it.

I will concede a couple of points. First, I'll gladly respond to valid issues of interpretation and make my position clear when needed. Second, there is no question the FG camp is sincere. I don't question their sincerity. I was once very sincere as a Free Gracer myself. But sincerity does not prove or disprove any argument. False teachers are usually quite sincere. This image of false teachers who knowingly spread heresy is ridiculous. I've had that view myself. And they are usually very nice people. But the only way to combat false teaching is with the truth.

I'm looking forward to your response to the issue of repentance.

Blessings,

Jon

Jon Speed said...

Lu Mo Nyet,

To teach all of the principles of sound hermeneutics is beyond the scope of any blog. I recommend the following resource for you: http://www.wretchedradio.com/store/product_details.cfm?id=297

Blessings,

Jon

Jon Speed said...

Oops. Try this link instead:

http://tinyurl.com/7kkm8r

gereja said...

Hi John thank you for the URL re: hermeneutics. Can you point out the hermeneutical blunder(s) those guys made to produce their errors about the doctrine of repentance?

Thank you
Lu Mo Nyet

Jon Speed said...

Lu Mo,

The blunder that Hodges made is defining repentance based solely on the settings of the word usage in Luke. There is no hermeneutical principle which suggests that this is the way to define a word.

The blunder that Ryrie makes is ignoring the usage of the term "repent" in the Old Testament.

Jon

gereja said...

Hi John, when you pointed out the correct view of repentance as "turn from sin," against the free grace view: "They do not believe that it means "turn from sin" because this would be a "work"." The singular "sin" you pointed out, does it mean all known sins, or any particular singular sin or something continuous? Please elaborate a bit.

Thank you
Lu Mo Nyet

gereja said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Jon Speed said...

Lu Mo,

I want you to know that I deleted the Wilkins' article that you posted simply because its length was too much for a forum like this. If you would like to post a link to that article, feel free.

Having read it, I think Wilkins misses the point about the Hebrew usage entirely. In fact, he doesn't even attempt to do a serious study of the Hebrew, relying solely on the LXX. This is the error of the FG camp.

Again, to reiterate, to say that the apostles would have abandoned their Jewish upbringing and schooling in the Torah is ludicrous in the extreme. There is no evidence that they did; in fact, there is nothing but respect for the OT in their citations. Nowhere do they indicate that they are somehow changing the definition of the term.

Blessings,

Jon

Trevor said...

I appreciate you keeping my response, and your own comments Jon.

My point was not to complain about you making a clear dogmatic statement about where you stood, but rather the way in which Free-Gracers were being labelled even before you had commenced the actual discussion.

Fair enough, you say you believe we are sincere, and I believe you. But comments saying we don't play by sound rules of hermeneutics did strike me as a 'low dig'. This is mainly why I posted the previous comment. That may not have been your intention, but it was how it appeared to me. Just calling a spade a spade ;)

Anyway, repentance...

I'm hoping that the present discussion will help me understand the term's meaning more. As you say, there are two main views within the FG camp. I hold Hodges' teaching in a high enough regard not to readily dismiss his views on this subject, but as yet I am not convinced he was right about repentance. I would say I am more closely aligned to the Ryrie view which you disagree with also.

But I am less convinced by your own comments. Is OT repentance easily summed up by "returning to God" or "turning from sin"? The Ezekiel quote would suggest so.

But I've heard that there are over 1,000 mentions of the Hebrew word shuv in the OT (clearly I'm at a disadvantage not being a Hebrew scholar, or Greek for that matter). Perhaps this was mentioned in the Wilkin article which you understandably had to delete because of its length.

Despite the high use of shuv in the OT, I’m also told that the Greek word used most commonly for repentance (variations of metanoia) is not used in the LXX as a translation of shuv.

Hence when you say that the meaning of repentance must be determined by OT usage we can’t extract the meaning of metanoia from shuv.

Irrespective, to just use the Ezekiel quote to illustrate your point is to take less than 1% of shuv’s use in the OT and determine its meaning from that.

I am led to believe that shuv is used in the following verses (which are obviously only a small sample of its many appearances in the OT):

Deuteronomy 23:14 – “For the LORD your God walks in the midst of your camp, to deliver you and give your enemies over to you; therefore your camp shall be holy, that He may see no unclean thing among you, AND TURN AWAY FROM YOU”

2nd Chronicles 12:12 – “For the LORD your God walks in the midst of your camp, to deliver you and give your enemies over to you; therefore your camp shall be holy, that He may see no unclean thing among you, AND TURN AWAY FROM YOU”

Psalm 14:7 – “Oh, that the salvation of Israel would come out of Zion! When the LORD BRINGS BACK the captivity of His people, Let Jacob rejoice and Israel be glad.”

Zechariah 1:3 – “Therefore say to them, ‘Thus says the LORD of hosts: “RETURN TO ME", says the LORD of hosts, “AND I WILL RETURN TO YOU,” says the LORD of hosts.”

I’m sure it’s an argument you’ve heard before, but I’ve never been aware of the response: if the Hebrew word for ‘repent’ meant what you suggested and quoted (“the thought of ‘returning to God’ and His covenant purpose as well as the idea of ‘turning away from sin’ and rebellion is inherent in shuv”), then what does it mean for God to repent if He has no sin to turn from? Would it not be better just to say that shuv meant ‘turn’?

And then the context, as you used for the Ezekiel passage, can determine what is being turned from/towards.

Likewise with metanoia. In and of itself it means a ‘change of mind’. The context determines what the mind is being changed about. It could be lifestyle, and therein may imply that God expects a change of life and turning from sin (as He rightly expects of all men, though not in order to receive eternal life). Or it could simply mean a change of mind about who Jesus is, or about our idea of sin.

And, as stated before, I have been taught that shuv does not equate to metanoia, the principal (though not only) Greek word for ‘repent’. So when John preached “a baptism of repentance” (Mark 1:4) and the Lord Jesus said “repent and believe in the gospel” (Mark 1:15) the meaning of their words can’t be derived from shuv.

To say that the meaning of metanoia and the other Greek words used for ‘repent’ must be derived from OT contexts of their use does not strike me as logical. Words carry their own meaning. I don’t think we should be looking to the Bible to define words themselves. ‘Believe’ means ‘believe’ – nothing more. ‘Repent’ is not a good translation of metanoia. To ‘re-think’, or ‘change one’s mind’, as you correctly pointed out as metanoia’s basic meaning, is a sufficient way to translate it in English – even when used in the Bible.

A.T. Robertson said “It is a linguistic and theological tragedy that we have to go on using ‘repentance’ for metanoia” (Word Pictures in the New Testament, 6:241). A “linguistic tragedy” because the common rules of linguistics must apply to the Bible. A “theological tragedy” because it has led to this misunderstanding and controversy.

Robertson’s comment does show that it helps to know Greek and Hebrew for tricky words and verses. But once we establish what the Greek or Hebrew means we need go no further to define what they mean in the Bible.

Otherwise no man can understand the Bible because he won’t be sure that the English word he reads doesn’t have a deeper meaning. It opens a labyrinth of verses and passages where the reader would say ‘I know what this means in my language, but how do I not know it means something else in Biblical language’. Just to clarify, however, I am not saying that it is pointless to understand Biblical culture and practice, for that has proved to increase Biblical understanding. Likewise with knowing Greek and Hebrew, for the uneducated like myself depend on scholars for the meanings of words - but, again, it is the Greek word or Hebrew word they are defining, not what the Bible means when it uses the word.

I must finish this over-long comment by stating, however, that as much as I hold to the above being true, I am entering an academic realm that I am not accustomed to: not just theology, but Greek and Hebrew!

My apologies to others in the FG camp if I have not represented your views well. And I must be prepared to ‘come off my pedestal’ if arguments to the contrary of mine are stronger than I first felt.

Trevor

P.S. I wanted to put the Greek and Hebrew in italics but couldn't get it working. Likewise I wanted to emphasise scripture in bold, instead of capitals, and couldn't. Apologies if it looks clumsy.

gereja said...

The OT people called to repentance--they were Israelites; they are saved people/apostatized people of God weren't they? OT calling for repentace is it directed to Gentiles?

Lu Mo Nyet

Mike Messerli said...

Jon,

I'm a grace guy with a strong view of repentance, but it's too much for your blog here. When you have time I'll buy the coffee and we can visit. I noted that you quoted a number of extra-biblical sources, but few scriptures. I do believe that there is a lot to discuss about the topic in the word, and many of us have, what I would call, a very conservative view on many of these issues. I have always loved how the late Major Ian Thomas described this thing of repentance, and I think he really nailed the process correctly. Thanks for your thoughts. By the way, I just found your site for the first time, hope you don't mind a first time comment as well. By the way, Bob Wilkin is a good friend of mine. In fact, I had lunch with him on Thursday, and we discussed many of these same issues. I would love to share them here, but I won't speak for Bob.

I'm in the Dallas are and will buy the coffee when you are available!

Thanks for your thoughts, but I will be one grace guy who doesn't fit in your box....I'm sure there are others. God bless, brother.

Jon Speed said...

Mike,

Thank you for your gracious offer of coffee and your post here. My available time is very limited; we're planning an outreach at the Super Bowl in Tampa and much of my time is spoken for on that front. I'm also in the process of looking for another church home. I have a booklet on evangelism that's in the "proof" stage right now. I'm also involved doing active discipleship, both teaching a small group and a participant in another group. I say all of this to say that I take your offer seriously, but it may be some time before my schedule clears up.

I do want you to know that my "box" is based on a couple of things. First, my experience as a FG guy myself: 13 years of pastoral ministry teaching almost exactly the FG position and witnessing its ramifications, both personally and ministerially.

Second, seeing the logical conclusion that the FG teaching has led to here in DFW (where the FG teaching seems to be based and is prevalent). I've been doing street evangelism here in DFW for about four years. Almost every week we encounter someone who thinks that they are "saved" because they have believed, according to the FG definition of belief. I have been in discussions with drunks about the meaning of the word metanoia. I've seen pastors coming out of night clubs. Missionaries out partying. Even FG street preachers justifying adultery because of the false teaching of the FG movement on salvation. We're not talking about a few rare occasions here; this is prevalent in every sense of the word.

Now, you've mentioned the fact that I haven't cited a lot of Scripture here and that is true. I haven't. I could. But the issue then becomes how you interpret those Scriptures. And as I said in this post, THAT is the issue. Hermeneutics.

There are many excellent studies which deal with these issues. I'm not trying to present an in-depth scholarly argument here. My goal is to proclaim the truth and explain why the FG hermeneutic is wrong. My hope is that this will provide an outline for other street evangelists who do Biblical evangelism when they encounter this. It's not written for seminarians, theologians or even pastors. It's written for the average Christian who rightly understands the Gospel. And it's also written so that the FG camp can present their best rebuttal to these points here.

So, I'm just saying that you have to consider the scope and purpose of what I'm trying to do here. Since it is my blog, I reserve the right to limit it to these areas.

Thanks for reading and posting.

Jon

Jon Speed said...

Trevor,

Just a few comments on your reply, and then I hope to start working on the next installment on the issue of saving faith.

You said, "But I've heard that there are over 1,000 mentions of the Hebrew word shuv in the OT (clearly I'm at a disadvantage not being a Hebrew scholar, or Greek for that matter). Perhaps this was mentioned in the Wilkin article which you understandably had to delete because of its length."

No, Wilkin did not mention the usage of the word shuv in the article that I read. This is exactly my point: they don't deal with the Jewish conception of repentance as a whole.

They will usually do what the openness of God theologians do with shuv and limit their understanding to those instances where the word means to indicate change of mind. Of course, all words in every language have a multitude of meanings depending on context. There are instances where shuv means only to change the mind. But to take the minority usage of the word and make that "the" term for the sake of making a point in the Greek is "dirty pool" (check any serious word study on this). But, in my reading (and it's limited to So Great Salvation, Absolutely Free, and Ryrie's "The Dynamics of the Christian Life"), I have not seen even a serious discussion of shuv.

All I can tell you is that the way you've "been led to believe" does not agree with the word studies on shuv. It does mean repent from sin in most cases, and context determines that. And I will continue to hold the position that the apostles would not have abandoned their Jewish position on the concept of repentance simply because some pagan Greek philosophers used it differently.

If you're waiting for a Greek word to convey the concept of conversion that the New Testament teaches, you will never find it. As stated in this article, there is no single corresponding word. There is no single Greek or Hebrew "smoking gun". To limit our theology to the strict pagan usages of specific terms without considering the whole counsel of God in its plain meaning on the nature and results of salvation is to miss the forest for the trees.

Blessings,

Jon

Trevor said...

Thanks for the comment Jon.

I had initially the thought that the Wilkin article you had to remove was the one I had read. This is the link:

http://www.faithalone.org/journal/1989i/Wilkin.html

In it he does use many references to the use of shuv in the OT and how it refers to the idea of 'turning', not so much 'change of mind'. It was in his doctoral thesis (when he shared Ryrie's views on repentance) where he stated it is used over 1,000 times in the OT.

If he is correct on its many references to 'turning' (and there are many quoted in his endnotes) then that does give us cause to consider the biblical meaning of shuv. So far I see it being a simple word that means 'turn', and then context determines who is turning and what is being turned from.

But this is all made a little redundant by the fact that the NT word used most commonly for repentance, metanoia, is not a Greek word for shuv. The NT writers were using a Greek word that meant 'change of mind'.

Perhaps the best way to argue against this being the NT meaning is to look at extra-biblical literature to see how the Greek-speaking world understood the Greek word 'metanoia' itself. Maybe this is where Hodges and Wilkin get their 'fellowship' interpretation for the word? But to look at 'shuv' doesn't seem a good approach.

True, we understand the NT better by looking at the OT, but surely not for the purpose of determining what Hebrew or Greek words meant.

Good work with the post on Penn by the way.

Trevor

Jon Speed said...

According to "Absolutely Free" Hodges got the fellowship interpretation of repent strictly from the usage in Luke. It had nothing to do, at least in that book, with any usage of the Greek elsewhere. Hodges' view in this regard is aberrant in the scope of serious Biblical scholarship.

gereja said...

Hi John, regarding the usage of shuv in the OT and the metanoia in the NT I have questions: the repentance from sin was in the OT adressed to Israelites as unsaved and hence parallels unsaved today? Or it was addressed to apostatized believers in the OT and also NT?

Thanks
Ly Mo Nyet

Vlad Kalinin said...

hm... John does mention the concept of hell, by using the word 'PERISH'.

So, your point that John does not use the word 'hell' is out the window. John may not use that exact word, but he uses a synonym for it.

John does not use 'repentance', but he uses a synonym for it, which is BELIEVE in Jesus Christ.

But the bigger issue is this. Your post implies that John gave us an incomplete Gospel but failing to mention turning from sin as a requirement for salvation. So, you are casting doubt on the truthfulness of

John 20:31

But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.


If someone only had the Gospel of John, would they have enough information to obtain eternal life?

Vlad Kalinin said...

QUOTE - Second, seeing the logical conclusion that the FG teaching has led to here in DFW (where the FG teaching seems to be based and is prevalent). I've been doing street evangelism here in DFW for about four years. Almost every week we encounter someone who thinks that they are "saved" because they have believed, according to the FG definition of belief. I have been in discussions with drunks about the meaning of the word metanoia. I've seen pastors coming out of night clubs. Missionaries out partying. Even FG street preachers justifying adultery because of the false teaching of the FG movement on salvation. END quote


Now, those sins that you mention, Jon Speed, are real issues, however, I'd like to ask you what fruit truly proves that one is a genuine Christian?

After all, if we use God's Standard of righteousness, surely even you won't comply with it... will you?

You may not visit the clubs (like those sinner pastors) but do you look at a woman lustfully? You may not be drunk, but do you have some jealousy?

Why do Calvinist preachers say that they too are sinners? Do they really mean it? Or are they only considered sinners when compared to Christ, but are really righteous champions when compared to everyone else?

KAREN LEONARDO said...

Free Grace...? If God created man in the Garden of perfection, and man sinned and thus all sin was imputed to mankind from then on...why then Christ on the Cross...if mens actions just like the action in the Garden do not matter. For Adam and Eve knew God..Yet they sinned. Repentance does matter to God, not just knowledge, for even the Devil knows who Christ is. Repentance is a gift of God, but I will surely warn every man and women to ask God for Mercy to repent just as I had asked him for the same gift.

KAREN LEONARDO said...

Repentance is a change of mind...which is then a change of action. I am reminded of Jim Marshall running the wrong way on the football field...he incurred no resistance but realized his grievous error and changed his mind/repented...he would have incurred much resistance, not to much different is what I read on this board. If your practicing sin as a lifestyle Hell will be your home lest you change your mind. The caveat is you must cry out to Jesus to grant you this Repentance. I just do not see this any other way in the Bible.

Donna Stang said...

Hebrews 6 tells us what we are to "change our mind" about:
1 Therefore let us leave the elementary teachings about Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again the foundation of repentance from acts that lead to death, and of faith in God,

Likewise, John tells us in Revelation 9 "what we are to change our mind" about:
20 The rest of mankind that were not killed by these plagues still did not repent of the work of their hands; they did not stop worshiping demons, and idols of gold, silver, bronze, stone and wood—idols that cannot see or hear or walk. 21 Nor did they repent of their murders, their magic arts, their sexual immorality or their thefts.