Home Pastors Articles for Pastors Spirituality Without Ongoing Repentance Is *Not* Christian Spirituality

Spirituality Without Ongoing Repentance Is *Not* Christian Spirituality

And this says nothing about the relevance of Romans 2:4, which I believe are written in a way that all early Christian readers would have understood as teaching them to be repentant. Scripture indicates that Christians can and should repent when their lives are not reflecting the qualities and characteristics of the kingdom. This is not a debatable matter if Revelation is allowed to speak. 

These perspectives remove the historic/orthodox appropriation and application of the “Lord’s Prayer.”

Quite simply, if one makes the arguments that suggest the church need not involve itself with repentance, the natural consequence is to remove the Lord’s Prayer from the liturgy of the church. Either you can join the historic church and petition of the Lord to “forgive us our sins” (Matt. 6:12) or not.

And here is the catch. This false teaching is not new to the church. It has found advocacy in, for example, aspects of Marcionism, the Antinomianism controversies and within the Latter Rain movement. Each of these theological errors were rejected by historic Christianity. Therefore, those who advocate an approach that removes “repentance” from the life of the church, which  is so clearly at odds with the Great Tradition, must provide some serious exegesis in order to convince Christians to abandon such a firmly held belief.

These ideas lack clarity and comprehensiveness on the work of the Spirit.

When someone rejects the idea that the Holy Spirit convicts Christians, they really need to explain what they mean by “convict.” If they are saying the Holy Spirit doesn’t condemn people or shame people or keep a record of people’s sins, I am in agreement! Yet if they are saying that the Holy Spirit does not reveal to Christians an awareness of sin and a desire to repent and (re)orient toward Jesus in a way that surrenders more and more of one’s life to the Lord, we have a serious problem.

When someone suggests that nowhere in Scripture is the Spirit said to convict Christians, we need to hit the “pause” button and ask some important questions. What texts indicate that “conviction” is only for unbelievers? And how is one defining “conviction” within this framework? Might there be other words that shape how we understand the Spirit’s “convicting” work?

A comprehensive pneumatology would seem to find the suggestion that the Spirit does not convict Christians to be highly questionable. Such a view, I think, posits a narrow view of repentance, not to mention that a logical consequence is a “low-pneumatology.” While those who make this argument would pride themselves on being “people of the Spirit,” it is troubling that their pneumatology essentially boils down to “conversion” and “empowerment,” overlooking numerous other pneumatic qualities and activities.

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lukegeraty@churchleaders.com'
Luke Geraty has been lead pastor of Trinity Christian Fellowship for the past six years and is a member of the Society of Vineyard Scholars. Interested in missional theology within the rural context, Luke loves all things espresso, hockey, hip hop, and fly fishing (what a weird combo!). He and his wife have four children. He blogs regularly at ThinkTheology.org.