The Repentance Factor

The Repentance Factor

Bible Believers That Aren't:
The Duplicity of Some Bible Believers

A King James Bible believer is one who believes the King James Bible is the pure word of God in the English language. He believes the Lord providentially preserved His word in the King James Bible and it is the final authority for truth. One of the key tenants of this position is,

If there is any ambiguity in how an original language word should be translated, the Bible Believer will ALWAYS, ALWAYS insist on the rendering found in the King James Bible text.

The believer must adhere to this position to remain consistent with his profession. Unfortunately, this is not always the case, and how some of them deal with the repentance issue shows the King James Bible is not their final authority at all.

As we have repeatedly said, some of the Free Grace adherents who claim to be King James Bible Believers will insist "repent" should be understood as only a change of mind with no notion of regret, remorse, or turning at all. As we showed above, repent is clearly defined as regret and turning by the Scriptures as well as the English dictionaries, thus the duplicity is obvious. These brethren while trying to "have their cake and eat it too" have chosen a side and they are not on the side of the King James Bible. They have wittingly or not sided with the Bible correctors.

A perfect example of this duplicity can be found on this page, written by professing King James Bible believer, David Stewart. In the second paragraph he states,

"Most churchgoers don't know that the English word for “repentance” means something completely different than the Greek word metanoia. Whereas the Greek word metanoia means “to change one's mind” (to think differently); the English word for repent specifically means to sorrow, grieve, and turn away from sins. These are two drastically different meanings, which as you can see, convey two completely different plans of salvation. Thus, you can see the woeful danger of using an English dictionary to define what it means to “repent”...."

The duplicity is glaring. Stewart is openly attacking the English word repentance, claiming it does not accurately reflect the Greek word and insists the word needs to be redefined because the English dictionaries cannot be trusted! He rightly says "the English word for repent specifically means to sorrow, grieve, and turn away from sins" and then in the same breath says that definition is wrong and must be changed to what he believes is the Greek word meaning. His final authority is the Greek text, not the English. This kind of behavior is why few today take Bible Believers seriously. Many talk out of "both sides of their mouth."

Often when one of these brethren is caught up in his deceitfulness about the KJB words he will resort to the "bluster" tactic. That is when they say something like "Never mind the dictionaries. The KJB defines repentance as 'change one's mind' itself, and that takes precedence over any 'uninspired' dictionary...," and try to force their way through the issue. This would be a valid argument if they could prove their case, but they can't. We showed in a previous essayr how "turn" is substituted for "repent" with each defining the other, but there is no instance of this being done with "change of mind." Their claim is purely subjective. They want it to be true, so they insist it is true, and anyone who disagrees just "doesn't believe the Bible."

Your author is unaware of any "new" word in the King James Bible that was not in use when it was published in 1611. If any of its words were difficult for some to understand, repent was not one of them. It was a very well know word and had been used in English Bibles since Tyndale. The KJB did not invent, form, or "coin" any new word and neither did it redefine any existing word. To do so would bring confusion, and if it did happen, the translators would have certainly made note of it.  

In the article linked above Stewart favorably quotes a letter that mentions the book "The Great Meaning of Metanoia" (1896) by Episcopalian minister Treadwell Walden. The premise of this book is how the word metanoia was mistranslated in the King James Version and the error was not corrected in the then recently published Revised Version (1881).

What is ironic is some of these same brethren who believe like Stewart will sing praise to the King James Bible and talk of its "superior language" and usage with other words. They will insist the King James word "charity" is superior to "love" found in other versions. They will rightly claim the specific term "fornication" is much to be preferred to the generic "immorality" and on and on. But when it comes to the word "repentance" (and a few others), all their loyalty vanishes and they covertly try to pin a (disputed) Greek definition (see The Greek factor) onto the English term, subverting it and the KJB along the way.

None of these faux Bible believers would ever overtly claim "repent" is not a good translation or should be replaced. They cannot say that and still appear to be a Bible Believer. So, instead of being honest about it, they subtly try to change its meaning.

Redefining established words is a standard practice among those who teach false doctrine. Christian cults and heretical groups make it a practice to modify the meaning of key Bible words and themes such as "born again," "eternal life," "resurrection," "heaven," "hell," "believe," etc., and "repentance." In doing this they subvert the truth of the word.

Furthermore, redefining older words to suit a current idea is a key tenant of progressivism or liberalism. (Consider how the word "marriage" has been redefined in recent years.) The conservative position, both theologically and politically, is words should be understood by the meaning they had when recorded. This is known as "originalism." Progressivism, however, will allow word meaning to be modified at the whim of the times or even the person.

Your author is convinced the originalist view is the only sound scriptural position. Whether it is the King James Bible or the U. S. Constitution, the original intent with the words is the only meaning that should be considered. If meaning is open to subjective modification, then words really have no meaning at all.

As a result of this subterfuge your author has heard believers say things like, "The only meaning of 'repent' is 'change of mind," "Change of mind is the only definition that works with every instance...," "You need to understand 'repentance' as a 'change of mind' and nothing more...," etc.. Unlike Robertson, Broadus, Bruce, Wilkin and others who are not afraid to say "repent" is a mistranslation of the Greek (or even Hebrew) word, these guys seem to relish in their duplicity or are, at least, woefully ignorant of it. Insisting "repent" does not include regret or turning (along with a changed mind) is like saying "grace" does not include "unmerited blessing from God" but only means being "nice" to someone. Beware, dear reader. Beware.

The only consistent position for a King James Bible believer is to believe the King James' words were providently guided by the Holy Spirit and are the words the Lord wants English speakers to have. "Repent*" is the word the Lord provided the King James translators to use to translate metanoia/metanoeo and other words, and He full well knew its meaning. As we saw previously the words "change...mind" and similar were used in certain contexts, but the Lord guided the King James translators to retain and use "repent" in every instance He wanted.

The Source of Their Fear

At this point some reading this may wonder why these Bible believing Free Grace brethren resort to such devious tactics dealing with repentance. There are a couple reasons.

Obviously, one is the plain old fear of man. As we said, the honest way to approach the issue is to simply be open and forthright with what they believe. If they think the word repent is a wrong rendering, then say it. But they fear the castigation they would receive from their Bible believing brethren, it would be unbearable. Many value being in "good standing" in the clique more than anything else so they acquiesce and continue with the double-talk.

Another reason is they apparently cannot reconcile the true meaning of repent with a salvation free of works. Words like "Repent of your sins," "Turn from your sins," "Sorry for your sins," etc. intimidate them. Some have even started a misguided campaign against Chick Tracts and others because the tracts mention repentance in a way they don't approve. Actually, these brethren are at odds with nearly every evangelistic work from the Reformation to Oliver B. Greene, including both "Great Awakenings"! Repenting of one's sins was a key message of countless evangelists God used greatly. For instance Dwight Moody preached,

"[Repentance] is something more than feeling sorry. Repentance is turning right about and forsaking sin.  I wanted to speak on Sunday about that verse in Isaiah, which says, 'Let the guilty forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts.' That is what it is. If a man don't [sic] turn from his sin he won't be accepted of God,"

Add to the mix Wesley, Whitefield, Asbury, Cartwright, Finney, Spurgeon, Torrey, Sunday, etc., etc. Practically every great evangelist the Lord used in the past preached true repentance from sin.

Billy Sunday is said to have preached to over 100 million people and had around 1 million conversions, and his major theme was repentance. One of his most famous sermons is called Repentance and it started like this,

"It is God, not I, who commands you to repent. God commands all men to repent. He does not entreat, or beg you to repent. He may ask you to do anything else, but he will not only ask you to repent, He commands you to forsake your sins...."

To the hyper-critical Free-Gracers of today Moody, Sunday (and the others) preached a false gospel of "works" by demanding people "turn" from their sins. That the Lord used these ministers to convert more individuals to Christ than nearly any other group in history is seemingly irrelevant to them. The opinionated smugness of such a position is revealing. Moody and the others saw no conflict between repentance and a works free salvation. None of them believed or preached a salvation containing "works of righteousness," but all understood what repentance really means and taught it as a prerequisite to salvation. They understood that before a person could have "faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ" he had to have "repentance toward God" (Acts 20:21).

Not being able to understand a concept or doctrine does not give anyone license to redefine words until they can.

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