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#58620 Mon Jun 12, 2023 12:20 PM
Joined: Dec 2021
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Joined: Dec 2021
Posts: 75
"repent -
1 : to turn from sin and dedicate oneself to the amendment of one's life
2a: to feel regret or contrition
b: to change one's mind"

"repent/μετανοέω -
1 change one's mind
2 feel remorse, repent, be converted"

While the lexicons give many varied applications of the word in scripture, the idea of "to change one's mind" is what I found so soul shaking and disturbing in regard to one's theological beliefs. What happens when, after many years being invested in particular theological views on salvation and/or eschatology, you come to find out you were very wrong, but had earlier been so sure and convinced of your biblical stand? During your change of mind you can begin to question yourself, form doubts about your own ability to understand God's word to us, and then think, can I really know truth at all? That can be scary! I had put too much trust in Pastors and teachers, but I knew I'd have to answer for myself on the last day. I experienced this doubt and disturbance earlier in life so I know how very disturbing it can be.

In spite of being under much heresy from the pulpits, I did hear references and quotes from men out of the past: Spurgeon, Knox and Luther for example. I reasoned that if those men from the old Lutherans, Presybterians and Baptists were good enough to quote; maybe the confessions of those denominations out of the past would be a proper guide; they had stood the test of time. While admitting they are by humans and can contain errors, there should be a core system of faith expressed and I found it in the various old confessions coming out of the Protestant Reformation, plus learning the ancient Ecumenical Creeds as well. Add to this the commentaries and theological textbooks out of the past and that soon forced me into study of hermeneutics. I came to have a perspective strongly based on the following, very basic or simple keys:

"Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. But they said, We will not walk therein." (Jer 6:16 KJV)

"Beloved, being very eager to write to you of our common salvation, I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints." (Jude 1:3 RSV)

"I have applied all this to myself and Apol′los for your benefit, brethren, that you may learn by us not to go beyond what is written, that none of you may be puffed up in favor of one against another." (1Cor 4:6 RSV)

Isn't our relationship to God Almighty important enough to study with diligence? I've been mocked for building a rather large Bible reference library; but do we mock those who spend hours in mundane hobbies like hunting, fishing, stamp collecting, etc? Purchasing books and having subscriptions to the various hobby magazines can take time and money as well, do we mock that? There is a line in Hosea 4:6 "My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge", and that should not be ignored! Even the elect's comfort and assurance in their salvation can be destroyed in the here and now, not their eternal salvation of course.

Not only is it important for myself personally, it is very important for when family come to me asking for biblical advice, helps in theology, etc. I'm going to answer on the last day for what I instruct them also.

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Best example, IMO, of repentance is found in the following text:

Ephesians 4:28 (ASV) 28 Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labor, working with his hands the thing that is good, that he may have whereof to give to him that hath need.

Repentance, first of all, is a gift of God and by His power through the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit. It is metanoia a "turning", aka: a 180° change in direction. Yes, this includes a 'change of mind', but that act of the will is governed by one's knowledge; of what is right and good vs. wrong and evil, and one's affections; what is one's deep desire, interest, importance. Thus, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit did Paul right that true repentance is NOT simply stopping an evil act, in that particular context, stealing from others, but no longer taking what belongs to another but taking what is of your own and giving it freely to those who are less fortunate and in need of an act of loving benevolence, thus emulating God's general providential care for mankind.

Oh, and yes, indeed you will have to give an account for what you believe and how you use His written Word. I agree that there are reliable sources from the past, e.g., the Reformation creeds, confessions, and catechisms, pastors and teachers whom God raised up in times of apostasy to make known the truth once given to the saints, et al. When one comes to a belief/view that contradicts the belief/doctrine held by such sources that cross denominational lines, then you should be moved to reconsider your personal belief and doubt its verity. wink

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Pilgrim, I have no quibble with your reply, for I agree with what you wrote. But your words prompted me to explain why I used the term "Repentance" instead of "changing the mind" in the thread title. The most common use of the term is as you wrote. Yet, a couple passages illustrate how I meant the word as a comparison between the more literal KJV compared to the dynamic equivalence REB.

"For John came unto you in the way of righteousness, and ye believed him not: but the publicans and the harlots believed him: and ye, when ye had seen it, repented not afterward, that ye might believe him." (Matt 21:32 KJV)

"For when John came to show you the right way to live, you did not believe him, but the tax-collectors and prostitutes did; and even when you had seen that, you did not change your minds and believe him." (Matt 21:32 REB)

"But what think ye? A certain man had two sons; and he came to the first, and said, Son, go work to day in my vineyard. He answered and said, I will not: but afterward he repented, and went. And he came to the second, and said likewise. And he answered and said, I go, sir: and went not." (Matt 21:28-30 KJV)

"‘But what do you think about this? There was a man who had two sons. He went to the first, and said, 'My son, go and work today in the vineyard.' 'I will, sir,' the boy replied; but he did not go. The father came to the second and said the same. 'I will not,' he replied; but afterwards he changed his mind and went." (Matt 21:28-30 REB)

The impression of the word "repentance" is a much more serious thing than simply "change of mind". I intended that impression. I totally reject the idea expressed so often, "That's just your interpretation!" If the word of God is nothing more than a man's interpretation rather than truth, it does not mean much. Foundationally I see only two options: What we believe is God's truth, or it is Satan's lie. It is true there may be degrees of danger in what the lie is, but it is either true or a lie.

In my background, it was changing my mind about whether faith and repentance are something inherent within me as a natural man, or a prevenient grace given to every man that just needed exercise, or is it a particular gift of God? My earlier years were not in a strongly Arminian church, but still the source of a believer's faith and repentance was not clearly taught and that makes for some serious differences in belief. When it comes to our perseverance, the fact that our faith and repentance is God's gift is a sure foundation; especially if your life shows the evidence of faith over time. What a true comfort that is.

The other major error I learned early was dispensationalism. That belittled the work of Christ and the New Covenant. In some ways it was an escapism from the struggles of our pilgimage here below. It reverted back to the Old Covenant and Judaism as a goal which is heresy. Oddly, it was much more difficult to study out of that heresy than it was to accept the sovereignty of God in salvation.

I mentioned studying hermeneutics, and part of learning that is seeing the examples of men of God in how they reason. My first major source of information about God's sovereignty in salvation was in The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination by Loraine Boettner. What solid reasoning from the word of God that was! Along these lines, I found the old Puritan Matthew Poole reasons so well. Over time the solid reasoning from the scriptures of a particular man of God comes to build a respect in our mind and for me Poole has my respect.

Let me wrap this up by remarking, when we are sitting around the campfire on the trout stream chatting with a friend and it comes to belief, even that chat convey's truth or a lie. I am responsible for it. I take that as a very serious matter. I agree that individualism can be dangerous if we ignore what you wrote: "When one comes to a belief/view that contradicts the belief/doctrine held by such sources that cross denominational lines, then you should be moved to reconsider your personal belief and doubt its verity." Amen

When I read these men of God out of the past, I have learned to be cautious about definitions and find it helps to use the 1828 Webster's Dictionary to get closer to the time frame of reference. I hope I have clarified my intent in the OP.

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