[We are] not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. (Romans 1:16)

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

John 8:30-32 -- Lordship Calvinism and its House of Cards

by Antonio da Rosa

In the principles of scientific justification an interpretation must submit to a "falsification criterion". If contrary data invalidate it, it must be given up.

In about 1300 A.D. William of Ockham introduced the scientific principle that whatever explanation involves the fewest assumptions is to be preferred. Called Ockham's Razor, it posits that any theory which, when confronted with contrary evidence, must supply secondary explanations in order to justify its existence is a bad theory. The continued introductions of secondary assumptions in order to explain the theory in light of seemingly contradictory evidence results in a crumbling house of cards.

In theology, when a particular theological position must be maintained by secondary assumptions, it is worthless. This is preeminently the case with the Lordship Salvation Calvinists' doctrine of the perseverance of the saints. When confronted with apparently contradictory evidence that a true saint in the Bible has persisted in disobedience, they will often offer the secondary assumption, based upon their system, that he could not really be a true saint at all.

Or when warnings are addressed to “little children,” “brethren,” “saints,” and those “sanctified forever,” a secondary assumption, not supported by the text, is brought in to say that these terms refer to “wheat and tares” and the specific descriptions are only the language of courtesy, not of fact. This continual addition of ad hoc explanations which are either not alluded to in the texts in question or are specifically refuted by them, render the theory useless. It becomes incapable of falsification because any data contrary to it is simply negated by additional assumptions. Text after text is often ignored in this way until the whole edifice verges on collapse like the proverbial house of cards.

Another theological position that must be maintained by secondary assumptions is the Lordship Calvinists' doctrine that the call to discipleship and the call to eternal life/eternal salvation are one and the same. When confronted with apparently contradictory evidence that the call to eternal life is a call to receive a free gift and the call to discipleship is an invitation to suffering, costly obedience, and hard works, they will often offer the secondary assumption, based upon their system, that salvation is a paradox, that it is both free and costly at the same time, and that the obedience required for salvation is not only the determination of the will to do so, but a perseverance in such until the end of life.

Still another theological position that must be maintained by secondary assumptions is the Lordship Calvinists' doctrine of a “spurious faith”. When confronted with the apparently contradictory evidence that simple faith alone in Jesus alone apart from works appropriates eternal life, that merely taking Jesus at His word in His gospel promise saves, and that those who are explicitly said to have faith may be in the state of not adding works to that faith, they will often offer the secondary assumption, based upon their system, that there is a difference between “believing” and “really believing”, and that “obey,” “surrender,” “commit,” and “give” are implicit semantic values hidden in the concept of the term of genuine “faith”. [Parts of this article taken and adapted from Joseph C. Dillow in The Reign of the Servant Kings pgs 25-41, see esp. 38-39]

Continual secondary assumptions plague the interpretations of the Calvinist/Lordship Salvation proponents.

John 8:30-32 states this:

As He spoke these words, many believed in Him. Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, "If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free."

As clearly as John can express it, a group of “many” “believed in” Jesus. This phrase, “believed in him” is a special Greek expression “pisteuw eis” which is almost unique to the Gospel of John. This phrase involves the use of a Greek preposition (eis) after the verb for “believe” and, so far at least, it has not been found in secular Greek. Among the instances of its use in John’s gospel may be mentioned the following- 1:12; 2:11; 3:15, 16, 18, 36; 6:29, 35, 40, 47; 7:38, 39; 9:35, 36; 10:42; 11:25, 26, 45; and 12:44, 46.

Even a rapid examination of these texts shows that this specialized expression is John’s standard way of describing the act of saving faith by which eternal life is obtained. To deny this in 8:30 would be to go directly counter to the well-established usage of the author.

For instance, John 3:16 states, “…whosoever believes in Him [pisteuw eis] should not perish but have everlasting life”. Could not “those Jews who believed Him” be considered a “whosoever”? Does not John make a blanket statement that the one believing into Jesus has eternal life?

Notice that there is nothing in the text itself to indicate that the faith exercised by “those Jews” is anything but the faith that brings eternal life. There are no modifiers such as “spurious” or “false” or “substandard”. On the contrary, the expression is the same in John 3:16 and 6:47 (Most assuredly I say to you, he who believes in Me has everlasting life). It uses the “pisteuw eis” expression with Jesus as the object. This is the very same expression that is saving faith in our most beloved texts, such as John 3:16 and John 11:25, 26!

It has been claimed, however, that the believing Jews of verses 30, 31 are the speakers in verses 33, 39, and 41. It is then pointed out that in verse 44 Jesus tells them, “You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do.” Along with the whole tenor of verses 33-47 (and especially the statements of verses 39, 40, and 42) this is seen as a clear indication that the faith described in 8:30 was not regenerating faith.

But this argument involves a missassessment of the whole context in which verses 8:30-32 are placed.

John 8:13-59 is clearly a controversy section which has its setting in the Jewish Temple (8:20). Jesus’ opponents throughout the section are His general audience in the Temple treasury. They are described as Pharisees (8:13), as Jews (8:22, 48, 52, and 57) and more simply as “they” (8:19, 25, 27, 33, 39, 41, 59). John does not expect us to understand the “they” of verse 33 any differently than we do the same word in verses 19, 25, and 27. He means the larger audience.

Verses 30, 31a (about those who believe in Him) are a kind of “aside” to the reader to explain the background and purpose of Jesus’ statement in verses 31b, 32 (about continuing in His Word). In this way the reader is allowed to learn the reason why Jesus’ words are misunderstood and how they serve to intensify the controversy that is already raging.

This technique is thoroughly Johannine. Throughout the Fourth Gospel, the words of Jesus are frequently misunderstood (c.f. 3:4; 4:11, 12; 6:34; 7:35; 8:22; etc.). Where necessary, John offers the readers the crucial clue to their actual meaning (cf. 2:19-22; 11:11-13). This is what he is doing in verses 30-31a. The reader is tipped off about the real purpose behind the words in 3:31b-32.

[Zane Hodges, The Gospel Under Seige see pgs 41-44]

Imagine for instance that John’s “editorial” note was not included in the text, how it would read:

John 8:28-33

Then Jesus said to them, "When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am He, and that I do nothing of Myself; but as My Father taught Me, I speak these things. And He who sent Me is with Me. The Father has not left Me alone, for I always do those things that please Him If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free."

They answered Him,” We are Abraham's descendants, and have never been in bondage to anyone. How can You say, 'You will be made free'?"

Notice the bold “they”. Without the editorial by John, the “they” would then be the obvious continuation of those hostile, disputing, and unbelieving Jews that have been referenced time and again throughout the discourse in John 8.

John’s point in his editorial is that when Jesus said the words in 8:31b-32, it was for the benefit of those “many [who] believed in Him” (8:30). Jesus did not address those who believed in Him, but it was for their benefit. It was spoken in the same manner as had the rest of the discourse Jesus had been giving from 8:13-29, in the sphere and in the hearing of all in the Temple. The unbelieving Jews misunderstood Jesus’ statement and began questioning His statements in verse 33.

The interpretation of the Traditionalist of John 8:30ff puts variance between verses 8:30,31 with verses 8:45-47, wherein 8:30,31 the Apostle John states that there was a group of Jews who both “believed into Him” and “believed Him”, but Jesus in verse 8:45 says that those whom He is talking to (who the Traditionalist says is the same group as 8:30,31, IOW the believing Jews) “do[es] not believe Me”.

Instead of seeing the true contradiction of their understanding of this passage, the Traditionalists accommodate their interpretation with a secondary assumption that the “faith” in 8:30, 31 is a “spurious” one, even in the face of the overwhelming testimony of John in his gospel that states that “whosoever believes into” Jesus IS saved, and even though not a single qualifier or modifier exists in the text to color our comprehension of these Jew’s faith. They then use this passage as a “proof-text” to their doctrine of perseverance and their position that all true believers are disciples as well.

We must not give secondary assumptions and/or modify one experimental fact in order to accommodate it with another apparently contradictory one. Instead, we must search for a higher synthesis, larger than each fact, which will explain both.

And in this case, if this were done, the Traditionalist would realize that John’s commentary and editorial in 8:30,31b was an “aside” for the reader’s own understanding, denoting that 8:31b-32 was an expression made for the benefit of those “many Jews [who] believed in [to] Him”, and that the discussion in 8:33ff is just a continuation of the dispute with the Jews and Pharisees who had been hostile to Him throughout the whole of the discourse.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

A Question for Consideration

by Rose

We often times hear the argument between Lordship Salvation adherents and Free Gracers about whether or not a person can become a true, born-again believer in Christ and then go their whole life without becoming a disciple of Jesus Christ.

For those who may not be familair with the positions on the question:
Lordship Salvation adherents would say no it isn't possible.
Most Free Gracers would argue yes, it is possible.

Well. I was wondering... what different people think about the reverse:

Can someone become even a passionate disciple of Jesus Christ, yet go their whole life without becoming a true, born-again believer in Christ ?

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Radmacher Addresses Hodges, COSF*

Radmacher Addresses Hodges, COSF*

Michele posts the foreward to a new book by Michael Cocoris, a former pastor of the Church of the Open Door, which was also once pastored by J. Vernon McGee. I think Radmacher's thoughts sound very sober and reasonable. I think he must be a man that loves the brethren.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Perseverance and Solomon

by Antonio da Rosa

Recently, I have been spending alot of time in the Old Testament. I have thoroughly consumed 1&2 Samuel, 1&2 Kings, and 1&2 Chronicles. Boy I would, if I had the time, go into many insights the Lord has given me and the blessings I have received as a result of my time spent in these books.

The preponderence of data in the New Testament uncompromisingly testifies to the fact that a true, heaven-bound Christian can ultimately fail in his Christian life. God does not drag anyone down the path of obedience. Romans 8:10 says, "And if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin". The body is incapable of living anything spiritual whatsoever. What must a man do to live the Christian life through his flesh?

Paul has some commandments for us given in the imperative:

Rom 6:11-13
...reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts. And do not present your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and [present] your members as instruments of righteousness to God.

There are here 5 imperatival commands of Paul for the Christian. If the disposition of Christians were to do these things by virtue of regeneration alone, the commandments given here by Paul would be both superfluous and confusing. Does one need to command the sun to rise or the waves to roll or the stars to shine? It is manifest absurdity to enjoin someone or something to perform some action that it, by virtue of its inherent makeup, is inevitably disposed to do.

It follows that if the Christian does not purposefully

1) Reckon oneself dead unto sin
2) Deny sin's reigning
3) Stop presenting the members of his body as instruments of unrighteousness
4) Present himself to God as alive from the dead and
5) Present his bodily members of instruments of righteousness

he will not be sanctified and will be subject to abject, utter, and ultimate failure in his Christian life.

Not many people who read this blog would be willing to deny that Solomon, author of 3 books of the Bible and a couple of Psalms, is now in hell. But let us take a look at the end of his life as testified to by the bible.

1 Kings 11:1-12
But King Solomon loved many foreign women, as well as the daughter of Pharaoh: women of the Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Sidonians, and Hittites -- from the nations of whom the LORD had said to the children of Israel,"You shall not intermarry with them, nor they with you. Surely they will turn away your hearts after their gods." Solomon clung to these in love. And he had seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred concubines; and his wives turned away his heart. For it was so, when Solomon was old, that his wives turned his heart after other gods; and his heart was not loyal to the LORD his God, as was the heart of his father David. For Solomon went after Ashtoreth the goddess of the Sidonians, and after Milcom the abomination of the Ammonites. Solomon did evil in the sight of the LORD, and did not fully follow the LORD, as did his father David. Then Solomon built a high place for Chemosh the abomination of Moab, on the hill that is east of Jerusalem, and for Molech the abomination of the people of Ammon. And he did likewise for all his foreign wives, who burned incense and sacrificed to their gods.

So the LORD became angry with Solomon, because his heart had turned from the LORD God of Israel, who had appeared to him twice, and had commanded him concerning this thing, that he should not go after other gods; but he did not keep what the LORD had commanded. Therefore the LORD said to Solomon, "Because you have done this, and have not kept My covenant and My statutes, which I have commanded you, I will surely tear the kingdom away from you and give it to your servant.

What is very telling is what comes after this testimony concerning Solomon in the Scriptures. The only thing that occurs in the text between this statement and the
statement of his death is the demonstration of the Lord's wrath upon Solomon because of his rebellion. This took the form of various adversaries raised up by the Lord against Solomon, and the rebellion of Solomon's infamous servant, Jereboam of Nebat. There is no statements directing our attention to his repentance before death.

When we read the chronicles of the kings in the aforementioned books we find that the authors are very eager to tell us when a king starts out evil and becomes good, or the vice-versa. These things are instructional for their readers! The last words concerning Solomon in the text are that his heart was turned from the Lord unto idolatry, that God's wrath was meted out against him in the form of adversaries and rebellion, and that the Lord was going to tear the kingdom away from him.

We know that repentance can avert or end God's temporal wrath for sins. Solomon went to the grave being troubled by his adversaries (1 Kings 11:25) and the kingdom torn from him. And indeed his servant rebelled from him and became the king of the Northern tribes.

Oh how many times do we read of the kings being tender-hearted to God, ripping their clothes, weeping and humbling themselves before God and the result being that God relents of his wrath and/or pronouncements against them? There is no such text of Solomon repenting! Furthermore, God's hands remained heavy upon him until his death.

Finally we are met with this little bit of evidence from the life of godly king Josiah:

2 Kings 23:13-14
Then the king defiled the high places that were east of Jerusalem, which were on the south of the Mount of Corruption, which Solomon king of Israel had built for Ashtoreth the abomination of the Sidonians, for Chemosh the abomination of the Moabites, and for Milcom the abomination of the people of Ammon. 14 And he broke in pieces the sacred pillars and cut down the wooden images, and filled their places with the bones of men.

Literally hundreds of years later after Solomon's death, the shrines, groves, high places, pillars, and images which Solomon made for his idol worship were still standing!

Let me tell you how repentance is supposed to work. I remember a time when I placed the value and worship of a certain activity above God, my wife and family, and everything else. Upon reading these texts in the Old Testament, I was convicted of my sin of idolatry. In the name of Christ my Lord, I went home and destroyed all of the objects related to my sin, not sparing a single one; but completely pulvarized these objects into tiny bits and put them into the San Diego equivalent of the Brook Kidron.

Solomon died with God's hand heavy upon him and the kingdom torn from him

and the testaments to his idolatry still in place hundreds of years after his death.

Solomon died an idolator and under the wrath of God.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Arminian v Calvinist part 2

by Matthew

Okay, so that was something of a caricature of a debate between and Arminian and a Calvinist. But often debates on the soteriology do form along those lines. Both sides quote verses as if the other side is going to say:

Oh wow, man. I never read that verse before. I guess you guys who believe in perseverance/ possibility of loss of salvation must be right.

Even where more sophisticated exegesis is presented, the results of such debate is predictable. The Calvinist produces all the verses that demonstrate the eteranal security of the believer, while the Arminian produces all the verses that imply loss of salvation.

Both sides have a problem. The Arminian has to deal with a lot of passages that strongly affirm the eteranal security of the believer. If she wants to stand in the Reformation tradition, she also has to reconcile her rejection of eternal security with the doctrine of justification.

The Calvinist may have strong support for eternal security. Hwoever, she has to deal with a mass of warnings about judgment. She has to convince her opponent that these warnings are directed at false professors and not true believers. Even if she succeeds in this she risks the danger of removing the assurance that one is a true believer.

The Calvinist has a further problem in that the weight of history rejects her position.

The early church fathers rejected perseverance. Augustine, the most popular of them amongst Calvinists believed in a sort of perseverance, but he held that true born-again Christians could still be lost (if they were not among the elect). The Roman Catholic church has always rejected perseverance, as has the Eastern Orthodox church. The Anabaptist tradition for the most part rejects it. The Arminians, the Wesleyans and most Pentecostals reject it. All of the pseudo-Christian cults that claim to follow the Bible reject it.

Now it may be that the mass of these people may have been unregenerate. No doubt the majority of them were. However, with the exception of the cultists, they were able to pick up their Bibles and see in them the doctrine of the Trinity. If the Bible so clearly teaches eternal security, why have so many missed it, while still holding to much that is true? Why is it only Reformed, Baptists and some Anglicans (occupying only a fraction of church history) have held to eternal security and perserverance?

For those of us who hold to Free Grace/ Overcomer teaching, this is not so much of a problem. The Bible contains many warnings to regenerate persons. Not warnings of eternal punishment, but warnings of judgment, chastening, premature death, loss of rewards, loss of kingdom inheritance and perhaps exclusion from the millennium (more debateable than the others). It is easy for the careless exegete or the false teacher to twist those warnings into warnings of everlasting punishment.

The goal of consistent Free Grace theology is too synthesize the precious truth of eternal security with the stark reality of judgment upon believers who do not yield their lives in submission and faithful discipleship to Christ.

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Saturday, October 11, 2008

Arminian v Calvinist

by Matthew

Calvinist: You see what it says here? Look at Romans

Moreover, whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.

Arminian: Yes, that is true. But it also says here:

But and if that evil servant shall say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming;

and shall begin to smite his fellow servants, and to eat and drink with the drunken;

the lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looketh not for him, and in an hour that he is not aware of,

and shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

Calvinist: But we can't apply that to regenerate persons. It says here:

For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

Arminian: No? What about Hebrews 10:26-27:

¶ For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins,

but a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries.

etc etc etc etc etc etc.

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Thursday, October 09, 2008

Posting of a Hymn

by Rose

When He Shall Come 1934
Almeda J. Pearce

When He shall come resplendent in His glory
To take His own from out the vale of night
O may I know the joy at His appearing
Only at morn, to walk with Him in white!

When I shall stand within the court of heaven
Where white-robed pilgrims pass before my sight
Earth’s martyred saints and blood-washed overcomers
These then are they who walk with Him in white!

When He shall call, from earth’s remotest corners
All who have stood triumphant in His might
O to be worthy then to stand beside them
And in that morn, to walk with Him in white!

I have never heard this hymn until this past Sunday morning at my church. Growing up Catholic, I was not exposed to some of the hymns that others who grew up in protestant churches did. I could tell that others there this past Sunday knew the song. They sang it out so powerfully!

The song reminded me of a post on Antonio's blog from months ago called "So you're saved, but will you walk with Jesus in White?" I questioned the ideas in that post. I found his thoughts compelling, but I view it more the way that Mark and Ten Cent were presenting in their comments there. That's OK, though. We are allowed to have differences in view amongst the members of this blog. :~) None of us are "unsuspecting" sheep that we can't be like Bereans and come to our own conclusions.

This hymn got me to thinking again about the subject of "overcomers." I wondered if the writer of the hymn held the same view that Antonio was explaining. I wondered if those in my church who were familiar with the hymn and who were singing it out so enthusiastically were agreeing with its implications.

1 Thessalonians 4:16-17; Colossians 3:4; Revelation 3:4; Revelation 7:9

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Repentance is NOT a condition of eternal salvation: An argument

by Antonio da Rosa

Many people believe that repentance is a condition for eternal life. Ron Shea posted something to this effect on Lou Martuneac's blog. The following is an argument that was made by your humble co-host of Unashamed of Grace some 2 years ago and still has not been answered by the critics of consistent Free Grace Theology. It is here again provided as another opportunity for those who believe that repentance is a God-ordained condition to give us a scripture that conjoins a command to repent with a resultant of eternal life, eternal salvation, or justification, or a cause of repentance with a resultant effect of eternal salvation.

Example: John 6:47 - Most assuredly I say to you (promise), he who believes in Me (cause) has everlasting life (effect).

[Taken from the 7 part article on Repentance and Free Grace Theology. You can find links to all 7 articles here: Free Grace Theology Blog]

As a preliminary consideration, the reader must be aware of a cogent biblical fact that necessarily places a huge burden of proof upon the Traditionalists:

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