Mark 1:14-15 reports that “Jesus came into Galilee, proclaiming the gospel of God, saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.'” According to Jesus’ statement in Mark 1, repentance and faith are essential to the gospel message that Jesus preached. Biblical repentance, however is not present in much preaching today—“the word repentance is still in our vocabulary today, it is nonetheless a tragically misunderstood and carelessly disregarded term” (Richard Owen Roberts, Repentance: The First Word of the Gospel, Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 2002, 16). Thus, the question arises—how does repentance relate to salvation? Are sinners saved only by faith apart from repentance or are repentance and faith intricately connected? Proponents of what has been termed “lordship salvation” have long held that true saving faith is faith that is inseparably joined to repentance. Proponents of what may be termed the “non-Lordship” position claim that salvation is by faith alone and repentance comes after faith as a result of growing in likeness to Christ. Such divergent claims reveal the need for a thorough biblical theology of repentance and its tie to salvation.
In a series of posts to follow, I will discuss the history and the key tenants of both sides of the Lordship Salvation Controversy while revealing the Bible’s clear teaching on repentance. It will be shown that the non-lordship position fails to do justice to the biblical data, misunderstands the place of repentance in the work of redemption, and does harm to the church which Christ died to redeem.
Although the theology of “non-lordship” theologians is no longer holds the same influence it once did, its affects upon the evangelical church are widespread. In fact, I think much of today’s poor preaching on conversion is likely tied in some way, shape, or form to non-lordship teaching. I hope these posts are helpful to you and establish clearly in your mind that repentance and faith are the necessary response to the gospel!
Next Post: Brief History of the Lordship Salvation Controversy.