Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life. (John 4:13-14)

Friday, August 11, 2006

Free Grace Theology and Repentance -- A Reply To Matthew Waymeyer Part 1

Recently in a post on Faith and Practice, Matthew Waymeyer has taken a considerable amount of time to cast aspersions upon Free Grace theology. In all honesty, his spirit was irenic and he endeavored to both understand Free Grace theology and objectively characterize it. In this I applaud you, Matthew, for many in the Traditionalist line of thinking give no great effort to accurately portray the position of my advocacy.

Having cut and pasted his article on my word processor, I have found that his article is 4 ½ pages. In order that I may give a thorough consideration to his post this response will be considerably longer than his.

In view of the reader’s patience, I will post my response in 4 or 5 segments, one a day.

You may view his article here. In this response, every major argument will be engaged.

Matthew writes:
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According to “Free Grace” (hereafter FG), repentance is not necessary for salvation.
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In my responses to the Reformed Lordship Salvation of Matthew I may be required to be specific and technical.

As a technical assertion, his statement here is correct. In the Bible, and thus accordingly, Free Grace theology, repentance is not a theologically necessary condition for the reception of eternal salvation, with its two major, Biblically witnessed, components: eternal life and justification.

The consideration of theological necessity and logical necessity will be discussed throughout this response. As a short intro to the difference between theological and logical necessity, the following illustration is given:

The local grocery store sells a Twix candybar for 75 cents. As far as the grocery store is concerned, the the sole requirement for the acquisition of that candy bar by the customer is to be imbursed 75 cents. This fact cannot be overstated!

The requirement for the payment of 75 cents is all that is necessary for the customer to acquire said candy bar. Yet there may be other necessities from the point of view of the customer. He needs to acquire for himself 75 cents! He may have to beg, borrow, steal, ask, or work for the money, or even possibly he is already prepared for it by having found the 75 cents on the ground. It will be necessary for him to be in possession of the payment for the candy bar. So seen from another perspective, any process by which he acquires the money that is necessary for the purchase of the candy bar may be an essential step in the appropriation of said candy bar.

The only theologically necessary condition for eternal life is to believe the gospel promise of the Lord Jesus Christ. There may be few or a great number of logically necessary conditions in order to get to the point of faith, depending upon the subjective nature of the mind and personality to which the gospel message is addressed, but we must not confuse them with the sole theological necessity: faith alone into Christ alone.

In the story of the rich young ruler, Jesus, sensing that the man would not come to faith in Him for eternal life because of the ruler’s characteristic reliance and trust in riches, tailored a conversation with him that revealed the man’s failure to obey the whole law, and identified to the crowd “how hard it is for those who trust in riches to enter the kingdom of God!” (Mark 10:24). The man’s mind needed to have a paradigm shift as a logical requirement for faith. As long as he relied on his riches for everything, he could not come to the point of trust upon Jesus for entrance into the kingdom.

There are logical necessities! Just think for a moment. Would not a person have to understand language or symbols in order that he might comprehend the communication of the gospel? Therefore he must be able to read with comprehension, hear with understanding, or decipher Braille. Does not a person have to have the mental capabilities to understand the communication as well?

As long as a man remains an atheist, it will be impossible to convince him of the gospel promise. There may be several conditions to fill and hoops to jump through in order to set the mind in the right subjective environment for faith. These are the logical necessities. Repentance may be a necessary logical requirement for salvation in the same way that belief in the existence of God would be.

Matthew writes:
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FG teaches that… repentance… is not…part of the message of the gospel. As Zane Hodges has written, “Repentance is never presented in the NT as a condition for eternal life” (Harmony with God, 109).
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As a preliminary consideration, the reader must be aware of a cogent biblical fact that necessarily places a huge burden of proof upon the Traditionalist:

Nowhere in the Bible is the reception of eternal salvation, eternal life, or justification conditioned on an act of repentance.

The Traditionalist must string together texts and arguments in order to support his unbiblical assertion that repentance is a theologically binding requirement for the possession of eternal salvation. In his arguments, the fallacy of special pleading is a common trait, for there is no clear text that makes his point.

He cannot point to even one text that explicitely commands repentance for the express purpose of the appropriation of eternal life. There is no such verse or passage.

If this is such an important element in the discussion of the critical components of the gospel message it is odd – no, it is incredible – that not a single verse clearly conjoins a command to repent with a resultant appropriation of: eternal salvation, eternal life, or justification.

Isn’t the reception of eternal life/justification of utmost importance to a lost sinner on his way to hell? I mean, listen – the information on how a person is initiated into a relationship with God is of dire necessity! Wouldn’t you think that an issue of such great import would be properly clarified by the God who “desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Tim 2:4)? Isn’t it unbelievable that in the whole canon of scripture, that if eternal well-being is contingent partly on an act of repentance, that no text whatsoever conditions a result of eternal salvation on such an act?

The apostle John, who is not unfamiliar with the doctrine of repentance, as he presents it more than any other New Testament writer other than Luke (10 mentions in Revelation), whose gospel was written for an express purpose of evangelism (John 20:30-31), nevertheless is conspicuously silent on repentance as a condition for the appropriation of eternal life.

Would it not be a major error of inestimable proportions that if repentance is indeed a necessary requirement for eternal life that John the apostle would not include a single reference to it as a condition for salvation, yeah, even further, fail to mention it even once in the whole of his gospel written so that men could have eternal life?

This would be like writing a book on “Major Treatments for Heart Disease” and yet fail to mention open heart surgery (an illustration borrowed from Zane Hodges).

The evidence in regard to this chilling and absolute silence of the fourth gospel in mentioning repentance in conjunction with the indisputable instrument of eternal life’s appropriation, faith into Jesus for it, can have only 1 of 3 possible ramifications:

1) John, the disciple who leaned “on Jesus' bosom”, the apostle “whom Jesus loved” (John 13:23), was not aware that the free reception of eternal life was in someway conditioned upon an act of repentance by the unsaved and thus presented an inadequate and therefore faulty testimony in this matter.

2) John, the apostle “who testifies of these things, and wrote these things; and we know that his testimony is true” (John 21:24), purposely omitted a crucial component of the promise of eternal life for reasons that could only be speculated upon (the first one that would come to mind is some form of mal-intent).

3) John, who knew that “which was from the beginning”, who declared what he “heard” and saw with his “eyes”, who revealed that which he “looked upon” and his hands “handled, concerning the Word of life”, who bore “witness” and declared to us “that eternal life which was with the Father and was manifested to” him (1 John 1:1-2) did not consider, did not believe, and was not under the conviction that repentance was a necessary requirement for the appropriation of eternal well-being.

If we agree to the following:

1) John told the truth
2) John wrote his gospel with a purpose of evangelism

and admit to the following (which cannot be denied):

3) John did not require repentance in his Gospel as a condition for the appropriation of eternal life, as he did not even mention it once in the whole of his discourse; repentance being shockingly absent from its whole.

We must necessarily come to this conclusion:

4) Repentance is not a theological necessary condition for the reception of eternal life.

Furthermore, we must consider our dear brother, the apostle Paul. The idea of repentance is a category strikingly absent from him. In his whole discussion of justification by faith in Romans 3-5, there is not even one mention of repentance as a condition for eternal salvation. It is also noteworthy to share that Paul only mentions repentance 5 times in his epistles (half as many as John), although he wrote 13 (possibly 14) out of the 27 New Testament books. And none of these passages in which he speaks of this doctrine does he regard repentance as a condition for the reception of eternal salvation.

In addition, what is even more damaging to the Traditionalist position is the utter absence of repentance in the book of Galatians. This epistle is Paul’s defense of his gospel wherein he heralds clear and loud the essential tenet that righteousness is imparted through faith alone in Jesus. It is indeed significant that repentance is absent in a book where Paul is presenting and defending the gospel message he received directly from the Lord. For Paul, faith alone into Christ is the sole theological requirement for justification and eternal salvation.

What we are faced with is dozens upon dozens of clear and unambiguous statements of scripture that condition eternal life/justification through faith alone in Christ alone.

For thoroughness, I feel I ought to at least refer us to some of these clear and unambiguous statements that conjoin the requirement of faith/belief with the result – eternal salvation, eternal life, or justification:

John 3:16
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

John 3:36
He who believes in the Son has everlasting life

John 6:40
And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day.

John 6:47
Most assuredly I say to you, he who believes in Me has everlasting life

John 11:25-26
Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die.

Rom 3:21-22
But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe.

Rom 3:26
that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.

Rom 4:5
But to him who does not work but believes on Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness,

Rom 5:1
Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ

Gal 2:16
knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law but by faith in Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, that we might be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law; for by the works of the law no flesh shall be justified.

Gal 3:2
This only I want to learn from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?

Gal 3:21-22
But the Scripture has confined all under sin, that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe.

1 Tim 1:16-17
16 However, for this reason I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might show all longsuffering, as a pattern to those who are going to believe on Him for everlasting life.

We are equally confronted by the striking absence of a single verse in the whole of the Bible that conjoins a command to repent with a stated purpose of the appropriation of eternal salvation.

Can the Traditionalist produce even ONE clear and unambiguous verse that conditions eternal life, justification, or eternal salvation with a requirement of repentance?

25 Comments:

Blogger Kc said...

"Repentance may be a necessary logical requirement for salvation in the same way that belief in the existence of God would be."

This clearly states my understanding. Excellent arguments as always. ;-)

August 12, 2006 1:00 AM  
Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist said...

Excellent post.

How tragic that so many refuse to see the simplicity of the Gospel of grace through faith.

God Bless

Matthew

August 12, 2006 3:11 AM  
Blogger Rose~ said...

Hi Antonio,
I hope those who purport the idea of "repentant faith" will indeed show us the verse/passage that you request in your final sentence.

This post - it sounds familiar. ;~)

Two things - thank you for explaining the difference between a logical necessity and a theological necessity. I wish you would have done that when you were in all the discussions about the deity of Christ. (if you did indeed, and I missed it, I apologize) It really makes sense.

Secondly, I really appreciated your thought here:
There may be few or a great number of logically necessary conditions in order to get to the point of faith, depending upon the subjective nature of the mind and personality to which the gospel message is addressed

This reminds me of what I was thinking when the Calvinist would ask "Why does one believe and another doesn't?" My answer to them was something like. "I don't know, I would have to understand everything about every individual (their experiences and their thought processes, emotions etc...) that does and doesn't believe to understand the answer to that question."

You have put it so much more concisely:
the subjective nature of the mind and personality to which the gospel message is addressed

I look forward to the next installments.

August 12, 2006 4:55 AM  
Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist said...

Good point, Rose about how people believe. You are a smart lady.

August 12, 2006 5:33 AM  
Anonymous Bud Brown said...

Antonio,

This is a good post. You've done a lot of hard work on it.

There is another "angle" into this thing, the fact that the Traditionalist rejects the notion that the unregenerate is capable of repenting OR believing.

Therefore, from THEIR perspective, repentance is necessary but not in the sense that F&P have indicated. Because regeneration preceds faith in the Traditionalist schema, repentance is not a necessary PRECURSOR to receiving the new nature. It is a necessary RESULT of the regenerate nature given before faith.

In other words, God gives the elect a "believing nature" and the elect who have been regenerated do not then subsequently believe, but rather their believing nature becomes evident.

Therefore, in the Traditionalist schema, repentance is necessary - not as a CONDITION of regeneration, but as NECESSARY PROOF that regeneration has occurred.

To use their way of framing the Twix illustration, not only does God give you the 75 cents, put it in your pocket and walk you to the counter, He spends it for you!

August 12, 2006 8:47 AM  
Blogger Ryan S. said...

I will echo a familiar criticism: the theology of Zane Hodges is antinomianism, and the the Scriptures are clearly against antnomianism or lawlessness. Among other claims, Hodges states in his Absolutely Free book that a so called Christian can fall into unbelief, specifically avowed atheism, die in professed unbelief, but because he supposedly made a decision for Christ, then he is redeemed. That's just bad theology right there. The New Testament even explains the nature of those who depart from us: they were never of us! (They were never regenerate, and as such, they didn't lose their salvation by any means; they never had it.)

Also, the business of severing logical necessity from theological necesity is illogical, and a superfluous non-sensical dichotomy. Has anyone who commented in affirmation of that dichotomy actually studied logic as a branch of philosophy? Hodges' book is full of logical fallacies incidentally.

FG teaches that… repentance… is not…part of the message of the gospel. As Zane Hodges has written, "Repentance is never presented in the NT as a condition for eternal life" (Harmony with God, 109).

Really? Didn't our Lord Jesus Christ say:
"I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish."
—Luke 13:3;5.


The espistle of James is in the Bible canon for a reason. The tenor of James 2 is not that salvation is by works, but rather that the fruit of a geniune faith are the good works that our Father prepared beforehand for us. The Word condemns lawlessness. We of faith are called to bear fruit. We're told that we will know unbelievers and false teachers by their fruits.

It certainly seems like the fruit of a geniune saving faith is repentance. Granted, repentance is all of God. As 2 Timothy 2:25 says, "...if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth." Likewise, repentance is concomitant with regeneration, and the truly repentant heart is a product of the indwelling Holy Spirit. All truly regenerate persons will yield to repentance.

August 12, 2006 2:47 PM  
Blogger Antonio said...

Casey,I am glad that you visited and was able to find agreement. Thank you for your encouragement.

Matt, it seems that simplicity has been traded in for inconsistency. Thanks for the kind words.

Rose, surprisingly, some points of my position on faith come from a famous 5 pt Calvinist who nevertheless did not side with Calvinism on critical elements of the definition of faith. I reference to him briefly in my response, so you will have to wait to see who it is.

I appreciate that some loose ends of things may be being tied up for you. Thank you also for your kindness.

Bud, thank you for pointing that out. I may end up including another paragraph or so talking about what you bring up.

In is interesting that they believe that repentnace is subsequent to regeneration, that it is also a gift of God, yet men are to preach it and impose it upon the will and responsibility of man in the call to the gospel.

Solifidian asked Mark Pierson (BlueCollar) about this on Jonathan Moorhead's gospel thread, but Mark couldn't answer with anything conclusive.

Ryan, thank you for your visit, which includes the cut and paste that you have been leaving on many posts on my blogs.

I have to say that if you are the speaker or representative for your position, and this is the best that can be done in regards to answering the message of my opening post, I don't see why everyone is not an advocate of Free Grace theology.

I guess I will have to wait and see if anyone finds a text or verse that conjoins an exhortation to repent with the resultant of eternal life, eternal salvation, or justification.

Luke 13:3 and 5 don't do this.

Neither verse coinjoins a command to repent with a result of eternal salvation.

What Jesus is saying in Luke 13:3 and 5 to his Jewish audience is "Repent, or you will also likewise physically die like those people who physically died under the tower of Siloam and those people who physically died under Pilate, whose blood was mixed with the sacrifices."

The Jewish Nation as a nation did not repent, and Jerusalem was destroyed, and 1,000,000 Jewish inhabitants physically died in 70 AD by a Roman army as a result of their lack of repentance.

Antonio

August 12, 2006 5:35 PM  
Blogger Micah said...

"How tragic that so many refuse to see the simplicity of the Gospel of grace through faith."

Why should that be a problem? If "accepting" a gospel is anything like repenting of sins, it shouldnt be a stumbling block either way. ;)

August 13, 2006 12:18 AM  
Anonymous Bud Brown said...

Ryan,

What is antinomianism and what do you mean by the use of that term?

Also, please, when you bring James out in the midst of the conversation, at least have the courtesy to recognize that the view that James is about justification is not the only view, nor is it the best view.

James makes perfectly good sense when interpreted as being about sanctification, thereby reducing a significant number of problems for the Calvinist. And it has the salubrious additional benefit of fitting nicely with Free Grace theology.

But then perhaps that's why you would rather misinterpret James?

All I'm calling for is a little fairness and intellectual honesty here.

August 13, 2006 6:56 AM  
Blogger Rose~ said...

Antonio,
I am waiting to see who the "famous Calvinist" is.

August 13, 2006 11:31 AM  
Blogger bluecollar said...

Hi Antonio,

Thank you for your carefull and thorough first installment.

If you do not mind, due to my carpel tunnel problems I will cut and paste from my response to Solifidian...
bluecollar said...
Solifidian,

I have always found you to be a pleasure to interact with, even though we disagree. Thanks for being that way.

On to your question: I see the whole human race described this way in 1 Peter 2:25-"For you were like sheep going astray"... That's the whole human race. We are dead in trespasses and sin, children of wrath by nature, led about by the spirit that is in the children of disobedience...slaves of sin, with no understanding of God. In fact, if you subtract God the Holy Spirit from the scene described in Galatians 5:16-25, there is nothing but evil there. That is the human race, under the complete sway of the devil.

Then 1 Peter 2:25 goes on-"but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls" - repentance is seen here. Jesus once said,"come to Me, learn of Me". This, in my view, describes repentance, when once we take our eyes off of ourselves, and place them on Christ. I believe this happens as a result of The Father having made us alive with His Son, Eph. 2:4-5-regeneration. We see in Colossians that Christ is said to be our life,3:4. Quite a contrast from before regeneration. Works, or service to Him Who is our life, is a naturaul outflow.

Look at the trees in winter. They are no different to look at than a dead tree; yet, because they are alive they will bloom in the spring, because they are alive. It would be impossible for them not to bloom. So it is with a regenerate person. They will, yeah they must"bloom".

12:16 PM


bluecollar said...
It is hard to figure a time frame in the events that are the salvation process. Your question,"1) How can something that follows the receiving of Christ be a part of the instrumental means (the coin if you will) of receiving Christ?"

Can we really nail down the timing and sequence as laid out in your question? In my view regeneration brings all these things about. Once dead, now alive. Once blind, now I see. Once without understanding, now I know. Once a slave to sin, now a slave to God.

12:26 PM


bluecollar said...
I think Acts 20:21 is a good picture:" repentance towards God and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ".

12:33 PM


bluecollar said...
In my view, the scene we see in Acts 20:21 is the result of when the message is preached, in its entirety, repentance and faith will come about in the hearers. They will be turned from darkness to light; from the power of Satan to God, then is the reception of eternal life. See Acts 26:18.

12:41 PM

Antonio, In your post you illustrated that some need a paradigm shift. I guess to sum up my response to Solifidian I am saying that each individual ever born since the fall needs just that. It is written that the natural man receieves not the things of the Spirit of God for they are foolishness to him. 1 Cor. 2:14. The carnal mind is enmity (hostile) against God (Rom.8:7).

I know that I have presented in brief the all too familiar view of total depravity, to which you and your readers do not agree. I suspect that if we start from different vantage points we shall not come to agreeable conclussions.

I look at Acts 26:18, Paul is describing his ministry here...-" to open their eyes, in order to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who are sanctified by faith in Me". Now, keep what he said here in mind, and compare it with what he says in verse 20-"but declared first to those in Damascus....that they should repent, turn to God, and do works befitting repentance. Gentiles and Jews were in view here.

Note also that verse 19 begins with "Therefore". Verse 18 gives a picture of repentance, "Therefore" Paul, in obedience to Jesus' appearing to him, preaches that repentance. May I also add that, in preaching repentance, Paul is also obedient to the Great Commission.

Now, on to verse 18 again: The order is to, turn from darkness to light, from the power of Satan to God...And then "that they may receive foregiveness of sins..."

To sum up, the whole world needs a paradigm shift.

I am surprised that I was mentioned by name here.


Mark

August 13, 2006 4:38 PM  
Blogger bluecollar said...

I do know that in my case I needed a paradigm change for it is written, "for everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be revealed". That was me before regeneration. After regeneration I am interested in repentance and faith in Christ.

August 13, 2006 6:11 PM  
Blogger bluecollar said...

Antonio,

Calvinists do not see repentance as a work. We see it as a natural out flow of regeneration. Regeneration provides one with new desires, desires wherein we now love the things of God, and want to turn from living lives that displease Him. We then want to have faith in Christ, and trust Him for salvation.

I was presented with a Lordship gospel presentation. All I could remember doing one day was want to come to Christ and to be His disciple. I wanted to live for Him. So, I called upon Him for salvation, trusting only in Him, and believing that He was my only hope of salvation. He alone was my righteousness.

August 14, 2006 3:40 AM  
Blogger bluecollar said...

Before my paradigm change I was a man hater and loved being able to inflict pain and injury to other men. I loved lusting after women and cursing and revenge - I loved these things more than God. Hence, my thinking had to be changed, just like the rich young ruler. Those things dominated my life. The claims of Christ for love and forgeness were very distastefull to me- the things for panzies.

I was confronted with the claims of Christ right up front. I knew that upon calling on Jesus for salvation I should also surrender to Him as Lord. I knew that as I walked away from my first encounter with my Savior, that I would now have to turn the other cheek and forgive and pray for people, as opposed tobefore this encounter.

August 14, 2006 3:54 AM  
Blogger bluecollar said...

I should have said love and "Forgiveness" were distastefull to me in the previous comment- sorry.

August 14, 2006 4:02 AM  
Blogger Malchymist said...

Ryan
gives a lengthy argument closing with a paragraph effectively refuting his arguments and confirming the FG position.
Mal

August 14, 2006 1:58 PM  
Blogger Earl said...

Antonio,

Thanks for this interesting post. My comments here simply reflect my biases that I won't defend and an appreciation for laying out the FG position. I think I'm seeing some of the outlines of FG theology. I happen to be one who sees repentance and faith as two sides of the same coin. I was influenced by Gordon Clark on this several years ago. I see this, for instance in Acts 2:38 where repentence is used in a very similar place where "believe" would be.

Interesting idea about how repentence in FG is a logical necessity in some situations to get the mind to the right subjective state for faith. Does that imply in the FG position that there are some people who have faith that never repented or never needed to repent? I fear I might be reading to much into this.

Again, thanks for the post.

August 14, 2006 8:53 PM  
Blogger Bhedr said...

I'm just glad I didn't meet you in a back alley back then Mark.

August 15, 2006 6:18 PM  
Blogger Bhedr said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

August 15, 2006 6:31 PM  
Blogger Bhedr said...

Earl,

What his contention is and I agree in part with is that there is a progression.

Consider the Samarian captain who would not believe the too good to be true promise that the next day the starving city would eat have more food than they could imagine the next day. He refused to change his mind and believe in his stubborn heart. So he would not receive the promise. The captain only got one swing at it.

The next day the lepers (with Hillbilly logic as my Dad likes to say) got up reasoning that they would starve in one place and die in the syrian camp. Out of their need they went to the camp and saw it deserted. God used their desperate need to bring hope to the rest of the city. The lepers went back and convinced the rest of the city out of their unbelief and they changed their mind out of their stubborn misery and went to find out for themselves...a flood of Samarians soon entered the camp and the captain was trampled to death while everyone got their food. God used the lepers need to see the promise as well as used the captains immediate rejection with no second chance to teach others the need to believe. Each person in the city could perhaps argue a differant experience...yet they all went through a change of mind and entered the same route the beggers did....most people don't give lepers the time of day, but they were in need and so they humbled themselves and listened and believed.

I find it ironic that the woman at the well who was an outcast in a similar light in Samaria hundreds of years later would echo this same progression. Again, each could argue a differant experience yet they came to believe the same truth.

I think however that it is unfortunate that we don't give the proper credit to the wisdom of God in all of this and instead credit ourselves with our own means of understanding.While there are means of reasoning... we must needs see how God works and give glory to Him alone for How His Spirit moves.

Remember the one woman who touched the hem of Jesus' garmet in her need and then a couple of chapters later in the book of Mark: word had spread and soon multitudes of sick were touching the hem of Christs garment as well.

I want to recognize the truths that Antonio witnesses here, and at the same time give creedance instead to the wisdom of God.

August 15, 2006 6:42 PM  
Blogger Earl said...

Bhedr, thank you for your response. I agree that Antonio has a lot of wisdom in the things he writes. I may not always agree, but his posts are helpful to me.

If I understand correctly (and I usually don't this early as I try to understand things), what is being said is that there is a progression to the faith where faith is the sole thing that permanently justifies. So, where I would see repentance as the flip side of the coin of faith, what is being said here is that repentance is distinct from faith and is often the predecessor of faith. So, if I understand correctly (which I probably don’t), there may be in theory some cases where the justifying faith was exercised without repentance.

Rest assured I’m not trying to line up an argument against FG. I am always curious about “boundary conditions” in various viewpoints. Where I come from, Reformed and Presbyterian, there are many weird boundary conditions.

August 15, 2006 7:37 PM  
Blogger Bhedr said...

Hi Earl,

I didn't mean to wholey speak for Antonio. He and I do not agree on everything, but I was just trying to show that he is right in witnessing this progression. I would personally myself say that I am in agreement that the coin has two sides in the sense of Metanio as being a change of mind toward faith that as a result receives a new heart from God. This is my belief.

I am very concerned as Antonio is and in fact was blind to seeing it myself...that many in the reformed teach a repentance for salvation with a restriction of a do!

They see repentance as behavioral as opposed to coming to Christ as you are and being saved and being blessed with many promises to appropriate in your life as you grow in the Lord and live a life of repentance...that is when Metamelomia breaks forth. The Lordship camp seems to teach Metamelomia as the condition for salvation. That is reform and striving to get the attention of God and wait until he arbitrarily chooses you. Much Puritan literature echos this.

Repentance and faith in the sense of metanoia is completed instantly by the Holy Spirits power. We then should live a life of Metamelomia.

I realized that Zane Hodges teaches that Metanoia doesn't occur with his points being that the churches were called in Revelation to Metanoia and I understand where he is coming from, but you cannot leave the Holy Spirits work of conversion and the New Creation out of the mix. In one sense at he point of receiving God's grace we become perfectly about faced as we receive from God a new life and heart. I am apprehensive to not include this truth and contend for it. We now have the power of the divine nature and are no longer enslaved to our old landlord. We have a new hope with great peace. God completed and worked what the nation of Israel was called to do but could not.

August 16, 2006 2:27 PM  
Blogger Earl said...

Bhedr, thank you again for your response to me. I think I get a better picture. I agree with you that there are many from my tradition that make repentence a "do". I've even heard the phrase "what does repentence look like for that sin." I get a bit uncomfortable when I hear that. I think there is evidence that almost always comes from justfiying faith in a changed life, but there is the danger in stipulating it in such a way as to make a works salvation. I appreciate FG's concern that way. Perhaps my difference with FG is that I am more optimistic with God's work in the believer's life, that fruit will very frequently come. But I also realize I cannot see into a person's soul and know whether or not they have exercised saving faith. That is a God thing.

I appreciate your comments. they have been helpful.

August 16, 2006 10:12 PM  
Blogger Bhedr said...

As always you have been helpful to me brother Earl. Rightly Rose has awarded you with being Top Blogger and you get a lot for your blogger when dialoging with you.

August 17, 2006 12:41 PM  
Anonymous Larry Klassen said...

The works of the flesh include "strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions." So do most of the postings on "Christian" blogs. Don't see much love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control." Galatians 5:16-26 Pay particular attention to verse 26.

September 15, 2006 4:47 PM  

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