repentance (Antonio's reply)
Antonio well articulated his premise in the discussion here...
the reader must be aware of a cogent biblical fact that necessarily places a huge burden of proof upon the Lordship Salvationist:
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.
The Lordship Salvationist 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), nevertheless is conspicuously silent on repentance as a condition for the appropriation of eternal life in his Gospel that was written for an express purpose of evangelism (John 20:30-31).
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?
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
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.
[Note: “The simple fact is that the whole Fourth Gospel is designed to show that its readers can get saved in the same way as the people who got saved in John’s narrative. To say anything other than this is to accept a fallacy. It is to mistakenly suppose that the Fourth Gospel presents the terms of salvation incompletely and inadequately.” (Zane Hodges, Journal of the Grace Evangelical Society, Autumn 2000, “How to Lead People to Christ, Part 1″)]
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.