Wednesday, February 04, 2015

One Particular Corruption of Repentance to Accommodate a Methodology, Success, and Numbers

Through my years, I've heard or read many numbers of perversions of the doctrine of salvation, but I want to focus on one.  Someone defines repentance as a willingness to change, a willingness to turn from his way to God's way.  Further, once he is willing, he doesn't in fact change or turn.  He might, but in this case, he doesn't.  According to this definition, repentance is the willingness to change or turn, but he may not change or turn. Even further, he is still saved.  The people who agree with this definition say that a person may not ever change after he has repented.

When a person is willing to change, he will change.  If he doesn't change, he wasn't willing.  One important way you will know that he wasn't willing is because he doesn't change.  I have no problem with defining repentance as a willingness to turn or change, but not that the person who is willing, might not change.  He will change, because he is willing.

Churches lure in numbers of lost people with something other than the gospel itself.  They might present to these lost that they must be willing to change or turn in order to be justified (I'm using the term "justified" to speak of salvation, being born again, or conversion).  Then upon making a profession of faith or this willingness to repent, these lost do not change.  They leave church never to come back.  When asked if these people are justified, these churches say "yes."  Why?  Because they repented, that is, they were willing to change.

At the time of this willingness to change or a profession of faith, the churches called this experience justification and counted this as another person justified.  When the person fell away or dropped out, they called them backslidden.  They were justified, but backslidden, but still justified.  Someone who is justified, according to this viewpoint, can live in a state of perpetual sin or rebellion. 

Scripture says that those in perpetual sin or rebellion are not saved (1 John 3:1-9).  They have not repented.  They were not willing to change.

Those who do not change never repented.  If they had truly repented, the grace of God will justify, save them and continue to save them.  The grace of God changes them.  When it doesn't change them, it's because they were never justified in the first place. And they were not justified because they did not repent.

The churches that label a "willingness to change" that does not result in change, repentance and then justification, are corrupting the gospel.  They are also making their victims twice the children of hell they once were.


Anonymous said...

Good article, Kent, and one that the IFB "movement" needs. The more I see it, the more amazed I am at how the Hylesian/easy believism/hyper-grace doctrine is making such deep in-roads into Independent Baptist circles.

Farmer Brown said...

I agree if I continue(eth) in sin I am not saved. We see this exemplified in Saul, who said, "I have obeyed the voice of the Lord." Instead of repenting of his rebellion he continues in it (and had for some time).

In your post you are talking primarily about action, but 1 John 3:1-9 is talking primarily about a type of person. Committeth (vs4), abideth (vs 6), doeth (vs 7), committeth (vs8), is born (vs 9) are all nominative participles. This is not just an action, but the type of person. "The committing one..."

So this is not someone who sins and repents, and sins again. It cannot be because when he confesses he is cleansed of all unrighteousness and therefore he is no longer "the committing one", at least not in God's eyes.

A boozehound who is of weak character and saved out of his wicked life will not necessarily never touch booze again. He should not continue(eth) as a drunk, but he may return to his booze many times. The frequency should be decreasing, but it is possible he will reoffend. The question is whether he confesses and repents.

When he does, he is not continuing as a drunk. He is not a drunk at all, but clean before God. However, if he comes back with some justification for his sin (Like Saul), he is showing the same lack of repentance Saul showed.

This seems to be the spirit of Paul in Romans 7. He is talking about his life in the present tense, and is tormented by his failure to perfectly resist temptation. This is similar to the pride we see continually surfacing in David's life, from his youth (Nabal) to his old ages (numbering). He repents each time, but falls again.

David was willing to change but reoffended, as did Paul. The Lord makes plain to Peter this may be the case with a brother as well (7X70). These good men had moments they did not walk in the spirit, and their flesh exploited those times.

Of greater concern to me as a pastor would be the one who never touches booze but proudly declares it is allowed, refusing teaching to the contrary. I would rather a saved drunk who reoffends and then repents with mourning at his sin than the teetotaler with a stubborn and self-righteous spirit. The drunk can be sanctified because of his willing heart, but the teetotaler will never change and will veer off in a far more permanent way when he does fall into some other sin.