Monday, October 19, 2015

Corrupting Gospel Repentance: the FBFI and Minci's Response

In response to Pastor Brandenburg's article here, John Mincy engaged in an interview where he gave a weak response, available here.

The response begins by stating:  "A blogger [Pastor Brandenburg] has since picked up on it with an article demonstrating a poor understanding of Dr. Mincy’s point."  I assume that he is referring to Pastor Brandenburg's critique of the original Mincy article, but since the statement is a vague one to "a blogger," perhaps some different blogger is referred to, one that does not show up on Google anywhere and which gives no evidence of his existence, since as far as I can determine, Pastor Brandenburg is the only author who critiqued Mincy's original post.  I will go on the assumption that the unnamed "blogger" who allegedly was "demonstrating poor understanding" is a reference to Pastor Brandenburg.

In the Mincy response, not a single instance of "poor understanding" was proven.  Not even one.  Making such an affirmation is easier than dealing with the content of Pastor Brandenburg’s critique.

In the first section of Mincy's interview, Mincy says that his "article is no denial of the need for personal repentance."  Great.  But what is repentance?  Zane Hodges could say the same thing Mincy does.  Just about any antinomian could make such a statement too.  Sadly, everything Mincy says about "justification repentance" could also be said by Zane Hodges. 

Mincy declares that he does not like the phrase:  “‘You must repent of your sins in order to be saved.’  Such a statement raises questions: how many of my sins, what if I forget some, what if I commit that sin again, and so on.”  He engages in zero exegesis of Scripture to show that his dislike of the fact that the lost must repent of their sins is Biblical.  Instead he just creates doubt with questions.  Sadly, that is the best one can do if one does not like an essential element of the gospel, namely, that one must repent of his sins.  Presumably his dislike of repentance for sins applies only to what he terms "justification repentance."  But could we not ask the same questions of his "sanctification repentance"?  "I don't like the phrase you must repent of your sins as a Christian to be right with God.  Such a statement raises questions:  how many of my sins, what if I forget some, what if I commit that sin again, and so on."  There.  I have now proven that neither the unconverted nor the Christian must repent of his sins--all without citing a single verse from the Bible.

The answer to Mincy's “how many” question is “the wicked turn from all his sins which he hath committed” (Eze 18:21).  That does not mean that one has to name them one by one down the list of one’s entire unconverted life.  Nobody believes that.  Are there significant bodies of Baptists who teach that if a lost person forgets to name a specific one of his sins, he isn’t saved?  Can Mincy give a single example of anyone who has said this?  Does he give any examples of this as a widespread teaching?  No.  What about “what if I commit that sin again?”  The answer is that the dominion of sin is shattered in the Christian so that Romans 6:14 is a blessed promise:  “For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.”  The old man is crucified with Christ, and that always makes a difference (Romans 6), although indwelling sin still remains, so that there is a struggle.  Does Mincy really not know this?  Why is he raising these questions, and using them to undermine the essential Biblical fact that the lost must repent of their sins?

Mincy also affirms that there is a "difference between sin and sins which in my view is crucial in understanding the difference between justification and sanctification repentance."  "Justification repentance" apparently does not involve turning away from sins, while "sanctification repentance" apparently does.  However, Scripture does not anywhere establish this allegedly "crucial" distinction.  It may be a crucial distinction to Mincy, and it may be one made by people with confused views of the gospel associated with Dallas Seminary, such as Chafer, and Wiersbe, whom he cites in his two discussions, or Ryrie and Hodges, who share his opposition to the lost turning from their sins, but it is not one found in the Bible.  Consider Matthew 12:41 (the material below is from my larger study Repentance Defended Against Antinomian Heresy—A Brief Defense of the Indubitable Biblical Fact that Repentance is a Change of Mind that Always Results in a Change of Action):

The men of Nineveh shall rise in judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: because they repented at the preaching of Jonas; and, behold, a greater than Jonas is here.

Christ refers to what took place in Jonah 3:5-10:

So the people of Nineveh believed God, and proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them even to the least of them. For word came unto the king of Nineveh, and he arose from his throne, and he laid his robe from him, and covered him with sackcloth, and sat in ashes. And he caused it to be proclaimed and published through Nineveh by the decree of the king and his nobles, saying, Let neither man nor beast, herd nor flock, taste any thing: let them not feed, nor drink water: but let man and beast be covered with sackcloth, and cry mightily unto God: yea, let them turn every one from his evil way, and from the violence that is in their hands. Who can tell if God will turn and repent, and turn away from his fierce anger, that we perish not? And God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God repented of the evil, that he had said that he would do unto them; and he did it not.

When the Lord Jesus spoke of repentance for the lost, he spoke of the kind of change of mind or heart of the kind that took place at Nineveh, when the Ninevites “believed God . . . and . . . turn[ed] every one from his evil way,” where “their works” were evidence that they had “turned.”

Consider also Luke 15:7, 10. Christ said "unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance. . . . Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth.”

In the single parable (Luke 15:3) of Luke 15, Christ illustrates the conversion of publicans and sinners (15:1-2) by the restoration of a lost sheep, coin, and son, while the unconverted and self-righteous Pharisees who thought they did not need to repent (Luke 15:2; cf. 5:31-32; 19:7-10) are illustrated by another son (cf. Exodus 4:22; Hosea 11:1; Romans 9:4) who was not willing to enter his father’s house but greatly dishonored his father because of his perceived superiority to the restored lost son (15:25-32).  When Christ spoke of repentance, he spoke of the attitude expressed by the words of the son that was lost but then found:  “I have sinned against heaven, and before thee, and am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants” (Luke 15:18-19).  This is the repentance of the unconverted sinner.

Consider what the Apostles preached in Acts:

Acts 26:20 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.

When the Apostles preached repentance, they preached that repentance results in “works meet for repentance.”  They also connected repentance with turning or being converted;  cf. Acts 3:19, “Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out.”  To turn or be converted is to “change direction, turn around . . . to change belief or course of conduct . . . to change one’s mind or course of action . . . turn, return.” [Epistrepho, in A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and other early Christian Literature (3rd ed.), W. Arndt, F. Danker, & W. Bauer. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 2000.]  Paul explains what takes place when men repent, are converted, and are born again:  “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 Thessalonians 1:9-10).  Conversion is to turn to God and to turn away from idolatry and other sins.  It is to turn to God from sin with the purpose of serving the living and true God and waiting for the return of His Son.

The idea that only in an alleged “sanctification repentance” limited to the saved do people turn from sins is false.  The repentance of the unconverted and of the converted involve turning from sins and evil deeds.  Mincy, in his original article, argues that Revelation 2:5 refers to the “sanctification repentance” of the believer when it states: “Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.”  Here one who has repented will “do . . . works” as a result.  But what of the lost?  In Revelation 2:21-22, employing the same Greek word and appearing later in the same chapter, Christ commanded that the lost “repent of [their] fornication” (Revelation 2:21) and warned that those who do not “repent of their deeds” would enter “into great tribulation” (Revelation 2:22).  That is, those unsaved people who do not “repent of their deeds” will miss the Rapture and enter into the “great tribulation” (Revelation 7:14; Matthew 24:21) with the rest of the unsaved, those who “repented not of the works of their hands, that they should not worship devils, and idols of gold, and silver, and brass, and stone, and of wood: which neither can see, nor hear, nor walk: neither repented they of their murders, nor of their sorceries, nor of their fornication, nor of their thefts” (Revelation 9:20-21), those who “blasphemed the name of God . . . and . . . repented not to give him glory. . . . blasphemed the God of heaven . . . and repented not of their deeds” (Revelation 16:9, 11).  There is not the slightest hint of a distinction between a “justification repentance” which does not involve turning from one’s sins and a “sanctification repentance” which does.  The Apostle John taught, through the inspiration of Jesus Christ by the Holy Spirit, taught the doctrine of repentance in every standard Baptist confession, the doctrine of repentance weakened and attacked by Mincy, namely:

Unfeigned repentance is an inward and true sorrow of heart for sin, with sincere confession of the same to God, especially that we have offended so gracious a God and so loving a Father, together with a settled purpose of heart and a careful endeavor to leave all our sins, and to live a more holy and sanctified life according to all God’s commands” (The Orthodox Creed, Baptist, 1679). 
“This 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 well-pleasing in all things” (Philadelphia Confession of Faith, Baptist, 1742). 
“Repentance is an evangelical grace, wherein a person being, by the Holy Spirit, made sensible of the manifold evil of his sin, humbleth himself for it, with godly sorrow, detestation of it, and self-abhorrence, with a purpose and endeavor to walk before God so as to please Him in all things” (Abstract of Principles, Southern Baptist Seminary, Louisville, Kentucky, 1859).

The view that is Mincy is advocating is not Biblical.  It is also not Baptist.  It is absent from all Baptist confessions of faith.  Yet both the true gospel, which involves the lost repenting of their sin and receiving Christ as Lord and Savior, and the confused gospel proclaimed by Mincy and others in the FBFI, are apparently acceptable in that organization, demonstrating that the FBFI is not truly Baptist, nor truly fellowship, and not something Biblical Baptists ought to be a part of.  Countless multitudes are already weeping and wailing in hell because they accepted the downgraded perversion of the gospel being advocated by Mincy, Zane Hodges, Charles Ryrie (in a less extreme way than Hodges), Jack Hyles, and so on.  Yet, so it seems, it is not an issue that will break the “fellowship” in the FBFI.  My sincere hope is that Dr. Mincy’s actual belief is better than what his articles have taught, and better than the corruptions of Hyles, Hodges, and so on, and that he will repent of his false teaching in these articles and return to the Biblical and historic Baptist gospel.  Paul did not allow Peter to corrupt the gospel for even one hour (Galatians 2).  Neither must Mincy's corruption of repentance be tolerated in Baptist churches, no, not for an hour.


Farmer Brown said...

TDR wrote:

"Mincy declares that he does not like the phrase: “‘You must repent of your sins in order to be saved.’ Such a statement raises questions: how many of my sins, what if I forget some, what if I commit that sin again, and so on.” He engages in zero exegesis of Scripture to show that his dislike of the fact that the lost must repent of their sins is Biblical. Instead he just creates doubt with questions."

This is unfortunately how most scriptural issues are handled by people of my generation and younger. There is no presentation of evidence or scripture, just a sort of crude (as in, unsophisticated) insinuation that allegedly casts enough doubt on the position so as to reverse it. Then the person can continue in their error but feel satisfied, as if "I proved you wrong" (which they often fail to do) is the same as "I proved my position."

It is just laziness, bad character, or manipulation. They do not want to face being wrong, but also are unwilling to do the work to establish a good position. Perhaps they want to keep their followers satisfied. They do not need evidence, just a zinger their supporters can look to and say "Burn!" That was likely the point of the opening line of their response as stated above. "Oh burn! Kent got smoked!"

Snark is not a presentation of evidence, and questions are not statements.

Your point on Nineveh is well made. That is my go to passage talking to someone about repentance. When Jesus said repent, this is what he was imagining, what happened in Nineveh. It is clearly much more than turning from unbelief. It is fear and grief at having offended a Holy God, and a turning from that wickedness.

KJB1611 said...

Dear Farmer Brown,

Thanks for the comment. In this case, though, Dr. Mincy is older. I would have expected something better from him, especially on something as important as the gospel.

d4v34x said...

Very good, Thomas.

Ken Lengel said...


Do you think that this position of Dr. Mincy is just another unfortunate consequence of Calvinism? I don't know if he's a Calvinist so I don't want to suggest he is. What struck me was his reference to Wiersbe and that the Holy Spirit only convicts man of one sin before salvation, unbelief.

Since Calvinists believe that repentance comes after regeneration in the order of salvation, it would appear that the only change of one's mind toward sin and change of actions due to sin would only ever occur after a profession of faith in Christ and in regards to the sins they commit after that profession.

For His glory,

d4v34x said...


Calvinists generally turn out to be among the good guys in this particular (heh) debate.

KJB1611 said...

Dear Ken and D4,

I can't say if there is an influence of Calvinism or not. Chafer was a Calvinist anti-Lordship advocate, while many Calvinists are confessional, and since there are no anti-Lordship confessions of faith, many Calvinists are Lordship (of course, confessionalists also believe their positions are Biblical).