Last night I was surfing the internet looking at fundamental Baptist church websites and I was quite frankly amazed at what I saw.
How can a fundamental church present the good news of God's plan of salvation and not mention the biblical necessity to REPENT?
You find yourself wanting to use the modern vernacular of: "What's up with that?"
Typically the website presentation begins with,"Have you ever received Jesus as your personal Savior? "
Where does this come from? Why aren't we asking:
"Has there ever been a time in your life when you repented of your sins and placed your faith in the Lord Jesus Christ?"
How is it that a fundamental Baptist church is ignoring the biblical mandate to repent? One may ask, "What sin or sins must be repented of in order to be saved?" First and foremost the sin of unbelief must be repented of—that is I must confess that it was a sin not to believe and I now believe.
The message of the apostles was not "pray this prayer." A study of the book of Acts will reveal God's plan of salvation or conversion involved repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Christ Jesus (Acts 20.21).
Some seem to present some understanding that repentance was for a particular dispensation period of time; however, how is this idea reconciled with Acts 17.30-
"And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men everywhere to repent:"
In the past God winked, but in the church age (the current age in which we are living) God commands all people everywhere to repent.
The Good News
The good news, in the dispensation of grace or church age, is that repentance and faith are both gifts of God—I am not expected to repent of my sins so that I can be saved. I am granted the ability to repent as a gift of God. That which I could not do on my own God makes possible.
Acts 11:18 When they heard these things, they held their peace, and glorified God, saying, Then hath God also to the Gentiles granted repentance unto life.
God is being praised from a position of overjoyed to the point of silence in Acts 11.18 because they realized that God was granting Gentiles (that's us) "repentance unto life."
How is it that those who prided themselves on their purely biblical theology just 40, 50, 60 years ago are now ignoring a full and complete presentation of the gospel?
Jesus was as clear as it gets in Luke 17.3: "except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish." Those under the sound of our Lord on that day clearly understood that if they didn't repent they were going to perish. Christ said it twice for emphasis and we have some today who are not saying it even once on their church web pages and in their tracts.
It is belief in Christ that saves—not the mere articulation of words—we need to be preaching what the apostles preached "believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved." This belief is always accompanied by repentance/obedience to the revealed Word of God.
AW Tozer said it like this, "The Bible recognizes no faith that does not lead to obedience, nor does it recognize any obedience that does not spring from faith. The two are opposite sides of the same coin."
The good news is that the grace of God in the New Covenant makes this faith and obedience possible. The good news is not that when man says these words, God is obligated to do something. No man obligates the Sovereign God of the universal to do anything—we petition.
Don't take Romans 10:13 out of its context—the context of "whosoever" is built upon verse 12: "For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him."
In verse 13, the word "whosoever" deals with the acknowledgement and proclamation that there is "no difference between the Jew and the Greek," [or Gentile] with regard to calling upon the Lord. Blacks, whites, Hispanics, Jews, Greeks, Italians, Persians, etc. etc. can all be saved by the same Lord.
If "whosoever shall call upon the Lord shall be saved" simply meant the mere articulation of words without repentance and faith, then we would have a significant conflict with the words of our Lord in Matthew 7:21-22:
Not everyone that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?
I firmly believe that the inadequate and incomplete gospel presentations found in tracts and many web sites are contributing to a growing number of people each day that will fall into the Matthew 7.21 category.
I am fully convinced that we will learn of many who will be arguing with our Lord in that day because they prayed a prayer found on a website that failed to mention that true conversion involves repentance toward God and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ.
What was the first word out of Peter's mouth when the crowd that crucified Christ asked, "Men and brethren what shall we do?"
At that moment according to the previous verse, the convicting power of the Holy Spirit was overwhelming and we know from John 6.44 that God the Father was drawing men and women to the Son and the Spirit of Christ inspired and led the Apostle Peter to say:
When you are deciding whether a particular church is the right church for you—a good place to see what kind of church you are joining is their gospel presentation or plan of salvation webpage. If their plan of salvation omits key doctrines, what else will be omitted from the pulpit?