A Voice in the
January 21, 2000
Dave Hunt and "Repentance" from January, 2000 TBC newsletter Q/A's
Question: I enjoyed your little book, The Nonnegotiable Gospel-so I bought several of them to hand out....But when I went through your little book again, guess what? I could not find the word "repentance" mentioned anywhere! Also at one place you said there is nothing for us to do. Dear brother, but there is, it is to repent....Couldn't you...make one small change and say rather, "There is nothing for us to do but to repent!"
Answer: Thank you for your letter. I appreciate the point you are making that there is no call to repent in The Nonnegotiable Gospel. Paul preached "repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ" (Acts 20:21); Jesus said, "I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance" (Mt 9:13); the disciples, when first sent out by Jesus, "preached that men should repent" (Mk 6:12); and the early church rejoiced when they realized that God had to the Gentiles "granted repentance unto life" (Acts 11:18).
And yet the words "repent," "repentance," or "repented" are not found in the entire Gospel of John, the Gospel to which evangelical most often direct a person for salvation. Did the Holy Spirit blunder in leaving repentance out? Nor is there anything specific about repentance in the gospel as Paul defines it in 1 Corinthians 15. In fact, repentance is by no means a major theme of the New Testament. Why?
Could it be because repentance is implicit in believing the gospel? To believe that Christ died for my sins, I must believe that I am a sinner and that my sin makes me worthy of God's judgment, which Christ took for me. Thus believing the gospel includes a turning from sin toward God through Christ. By receiving Him, I am in fact repenting through a total change of mind toward God. And God, who knows the heart, knows this without it being articulated in a certain way by the sinner coming to Christ.
Since the Bible doesn't specify repentance as part of the gospel whereby sinners are saved, I dare not do so either. I'm not saying it might not be good to preach repentance in The Nonnegotiable Gospel, but it would require considerable explanation. Might not requiring repentance cause some confusion? What exactly is meant by repentance? How thorough must repentance be? Must the person repent of every sin ever committed? Is he then under obligation to live a life above sin? Might this put a burden upon the sinner which he cannot bear, not yet realizing that Christ will give him the strength to live a new life? I had not consciously left out repentance, but I think it is best left that way.
The Bible doesn't teach it (?), therefore I "dare not" either (?); it's "too confusing" to people (?). When Dave refuses to proclaim this -essential- (nonnegotiable) salvation doctrine, when Jesus commanded that "repentance and remission of sins" should be "proclaimed in His name" (Lk24:47), he is proclaiming a "different gospel". He is essentially suggesting that Jesus was -wrong- when He commanded that 'repentance' be proclaimed.
Is not "remission of sins" the gist of how one is saved? Did not Jesus place "repentance" within the same context? Did He not command that it be proclaimed?
Yes, he admits that such a thing as "repentance" exists. And he is quite correct when he says that there are many times where the actual -word- "repent" might not appear; that it is "implicit" (implied or understood) in the 'rest' of the salvation process. But to suggest that the Bible doesn't say that repentance is part of salvation, or that we "dare not" proclaim it, that it is "best left [out]", when anyone who has read even a scant amount of Scripture sees the concept PROLIFERATING the Scriptures, and God's pleas to "Turn! Turn [repent] from your evil ways, for why will you die..?" (Eze33:11) ...is a "different gospel".
Furthermore, his tangle of words indicates that he, himself, is confused about what repentance truly is. He seems to view it as a "work", rather than a "place" at the foot of the cross of Christ.
In spite of the fact that this is a "different gospel", I am truly loathe to suggest that Gal1:8-9 applies to him, considering all the body of work he has written over the years that are -SO- Scripturally sound. Nor would I confidently affirm that he is not saved, as we have learned about Billy Graham recently from his own words. Based on all his other teachings, there is not enough information about Dave, on a personal level, to "judge" this matter "before the time" (1Cor4:5) Besides, that's not my job; he stands (or falls) individually before God. (Rom14:4,12) But unless he confesses this error, and corrects this Primary Salvation Doctrine, he is at least in danger of "being saved, yet so as by fire" (1Cor3:15)
If any might wish to suggest that this is a "public" accusation against Dave Hunt, and... "shouldn't I go to him in -private- over this matter first" ...in the same TBC issue that contained this Q/A, was another in which Dave answers a question about his own 'public attacks' on those who proclaim false doctrine... that these doctrines are being proclaimed -publickly-, so they are denounced publickly. That these false teachings are not a "personal offense" against me, like Jesus speaks about in Mt18:15-17. (That passage isn't talking about teachers of false doctrine) Furthermore, VW -HAS- written a letter to TBC regarding their favorable inclinations towards the -text- of the Gospel of Jesus Christ: an Evangelical Celebration" document, and they have never responded to that, either privately or publickly. This Q/A essentially covers the subject of that document and my letter to them about it. Their only concern over that document seemed to be the 'bed-fellows' of those who had signed it. Otherwise, based on this current Q/A, they apparently agree with and endorse the contents of that document.
In six years of reading TBC materials, I was thinking recently how I've never read an article from Dave or Tom addressing "repentance". While I've not read the book "In Defense of Faith", someone suggested that it does speak of repentance, none of the regular monthly mailings have even mentioned it, except for one article, only IN PASSING. While I have usually been in 99% agreement with what comes out of TBC, this newest revelation in their own words causes me to lose confidence in further endorsing TBC. As the time draws nearer for the Lord's return, as other 'famous' authors/speakers have become exposed in the light, Dave Hunt has been the 'last domino' still -standing-, of those on my mental 'list'. If this last domino has now tumbled on such an essential salvation doctrine, what other surprises may be coming from them as time progresses?
Thus... to guard against the day when I have been raptured to be with the Lord, and no longer have control over the website and where its links go, I am sadly removing VW's links to TBC, and am removing the previously-posted TBC articles. For several years I have been questioning Hunt's bed-fellows with whom he shares speaking platforms, and the kinds of 'churches' that are -comfortable- having him in their midst, and so in my heart I have been somewhat expecting this day, but hoping it would never come. Sadly, it has now arrived!