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A Brief Overview of the Teachings of Joseph Prince

By David Kowalski

wrong wayI have been slowly making progress on a multi-part article about Joseph Prince and the new Antinomianism, and I offer below a very short summary of some of the more important issues involved with Princian teaching and the new Antinomianism that seems to follow his lead.

Joseph Prince’s doctrinal problems begin with his confounding the notions of faith and repentance. He quite questionably cites a small segment of Thayer's Lexicon out of context in an effort to say that repentance is only a change of mind to believe the good news about grace (in effect saying repentance is another word for faith). Repentance involves turning from sin (Mt 3:8, 2 Co 7:9 etc.) Most online versions of Thayer's are abridged. Compare Prince's assertion to the full text of any Thayer’s lexicon which unequivocally says repentance includes godly sorrow for sin and turning away from sinful deeds.

He aggravates his error with the failure to note that though justification and sanctification are distinct in concept (a very important truth!), they are inseparable in experience. We are justified by faith but subsequently, real faith works by love (Gal 5:6), resulting in the "obedience of faith" (Rom 1:5). A consistent harmonization of Paul and James likewise concludes that real justification by faith is inseparable from a sanctified lifestyle (Eph 2:10). Prince says "practical righteousness" has no place in the believer's conscious thoughts, as this would be a kind of "sin consciousness."

Prince's divorce of the inseparable constitutes what theologians call Sandemanian Antinomianism (mental assent to grace is all that is required). Prince's response to the label is to say that Antinomianism is the rejection of the pedagogical use of the law in which law leads us to grace. Only Prince and the new Antinomians use the term "Antinomian" this way with the result that Prince deflects any intelligible discussion of the matter through a unique definition of the term

Prince hardens his Antinomianism through the unbiblical claim that all concept of law is Mosaic Law. Scripture teaches a royal or moral law which predates and exists apart from the Mosaic law. The Lord is king and issues commands prior to Moses and outside of Mosaic law. The New Testament speaks of our life in God's kingdom rule (See 1 Co 4:20; 6:9-10; 15:24; 15:50; Gal 5:21; Eph 5:5; 1 Thess 2:12; 2 Thess 1:5; 2 Tim 4:1, 18; Col 1:13, 4;11; 2 Tim 4:1, 18; Heb 1:8; 11:33; 12:25, 28; Jas 2:5; 2 Pt 1:11). Any message which dispenses with the kingdom here and now is a false gospel:

"This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come." (Mt 24:14 NASB)

Violating God's royal, moral standards is considered  “lawlessness" (see Mt 7:23, 13:41, 23:28, 24:12, Rom 4:7, 6:19, 2 Co 6:14, 2 Thess 2:1-8, 1 Tim 1:9, Titus 2:14, Heb 1:9, 10:17, 2 Pt 2:8, 1 Jn 3:4). It is Paul, the apostle of grace, who issues the most specific exhortations to godly living in the New Testament in contrast to Prince's claim that such exhortations are a "legalistic ministration of death."

Prince even further compounds his Sandemanian Antinomianism by embracing Calvinism only partially. He accepts the notion of unconditional security but does not advocate the Calvinist teaching of the perseverance of the saints which says that those who rebel against God will not be saved in the end because they were never true Christians to begin with regardless of their profession of faith and supposedly Christian activity.

By embracing unconditional security without the true, Calvinist concept of the perseverance of the saints, Prince’s teaching results in the idea that one really can live however they please as long as they keep a mental assent to “grace.” To make matters even worse, Prince also rejects the Protestant/Calvinist concept of the "third use of the law" (moral principles from both Old and New Testaments can guide Christian conduct).

Prince's resulting, practical approach to Christian living falls under the category of "quietism" -- a passive approach to sanctified living that ignores a massive amount of Scripture that tells us we must, in dependence upon the Spirit,  "strive" (Lk 13:24, 1 Tim 4:10), using "self-control" (Acts 24:25; 1 Co 7:5, 7:9, 9:25, Gal 5:23; 2 Tim 3:3; Titus 1:8; 2 Pt 1:6) -- which is a fruit of the Spirit but does not bypass the self. We must actively walk by the Spirit (Gal 5:16, 25), and we must do so with "diligence" and "perseverance" (2 Pt 1:5-7).

Prince mixes his semi-Calvinist, Quietistic, Sandemanianism with the New Thought teachings of Kenneth Hagin Sr. (Prince openly acknowledges this). Hagin plagiarized the teachings of E. W. Kenyon who had slightly reworded the ideas of New Thought Mind Science and packaged them together with marginal, Christian concepts. For example, New Thought "positive affirmation" became "positive confession" under Kenyon and Hagin and "subconscious mind" became "the recreated human spirit." The New Thought obsession with wealth and pleasantries persists in Hagin and Prince.  As someone "hungry," "thirsty," and "poorly clothed" (1 Co 4:11-13); Paul is a failure in their teachings.

train-wreckHagin and Prince's notion of controlling spiritual forces through the power of the tongue ("positive confession") contrasts Paul's complete dependency on the person of the Holy Spirit as the sovereign Christ worked "through" him (Rom 15:18).

Princianism is a blend of semi-Calvinism, New Thought, Quietism, and Sandemanianism that falls outside the boundaries of biblical and historic orthodoxy. While I would not label Prince’s teaching as theologically cultic, I would consider it aberrant at best.

The links below all relate in some way to Princian Antinomianism. Some of them have been written at this time with the idea of using them as references in the future series on the new Antinomianism.

“Should We Say Should?”

“Should Christians Really Fear Wet Paint Signs?”

"Relativism and Antinomianism: It's Mostly About Sex"

“Quietism – The Passive Christian Life”

“Is All Sin the Same to God?"

“God Wants His House to be Clean”

“God Disciplines His Children”

“Blessed Are Those Who Mourn”

“What Did Paul Mean By Condemnation?”

“Novelty: Good for Presentation but Not for Truth"

“Wayne Grudem on the Unity of Faith and Repentance”

"A Sermon Contrasting the Teaching of Joseph Prince"


Related, but to a slightly lesser degree:

“Is Eternal Security Conditional or Unconditional?”

"E. Bernard and Manasseh Jordan: Whose Side are They On?" (Contains a section on how New Thought  mind science became “Christianized” in the church)

“Magic Then and Now”

“Needs or Wants?”

“Magic Wand or Cross?” (Charles Colson quote)

“Do We Drift Toward Holiness?” (D. A. Carson quote)

© Copyright 2013, David Kowalski. All rights reserved. Links to this post are encouraged. Do not repost or republish without permission.

Written by David Kowalski

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7 Responses to “A Brief Overview of the Teachings of Joseph Prince”

  1. Dustin H says:

    Thanks for taking the time to work on this.

    I have a question about repentance. When we consider the definition of turning from sin, hating sin, sorrowing over sin, it does seem like it can quite easily become a work, especially since true hatred and sorrow spring forth from love of God.

    I could see someone reading the definition in a bible dictionary and feeling like they must, before they turn to God, meet this condition, when realistically, they seem to be the fruits of conversion in which we are grasping the love of God and free acceptance in Christ.

    Do you have thoughts on this? It simply does seem like a fair concern that repentance could become legalistic.

    Moreover, when I consider repentance as coming into agreement with God's revealed will, God does make it quite clear that He does not want us to try to remedy the sin that His law reveals, lest we be considered insubordinate (Rom. 10:3), and are severed from all of Christ's benefits (Gal. 5).

    He rather wants us to believe apart from works, with fruits by the Spirit necessarily following. I know that Calvin believed that repentance was not a condition for justification, but a necessary result that was linked to it, but not preceding it. He stated that a man cannot seriously take up repentance until he first believed that he was of God and in His favor.

    Do you have thoughts on this?

    Blessings! :)


  2. David Kowalski says:


    Thanks for your question. I think we should first establish some basic premises here. First, repentance (which you rightly identify as involving hatred of sin, godly sorrow for sin, and turning from sin) is an act that involves our choice. Even many prominent Calvinists who identify justification and regeneration as monergistic, describe sanctification (of which repentance is the beginning) as synergistic. The command to repent is directed to people, as though there were a required deliberate response from them:

    “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” Matthew 3:2
    "From that time Jesus began to preach, saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” Matthew 4:17
    "So they went out and proclaimed that people should repent." Mark 6:12
    "No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.” Luke 13:5
    "Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” 38 And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit." Acts 2:37-38
    "The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent," Acts 17:30
    “Therefore, O King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision, 2 but declared first to those in Damascus, then in Jerusalem and throughout all the region of Judea, and also to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, performing deeds in keeping with their repentance." Acts 26:19-20

    The command to repent is also directed to believers whose conduct needs to change. Clearly Christ would not have commanded repentance from believers if it were not a deliberate choice that must be made:

    "Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first. If not, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent." Revelation 2:5
    "Therefore repent. If not, I will come to you soon and war against them with the sword of my mouth." Revelation 2:16
    "Behold, I will throw her onto a sickbed, and those who commit adultery with her I will throw into great tribulation, unless they repent of her works," Revelation 2:22
    "Remember, then, what you received and heard. Keep it, and repent. If you will not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what hour I will come against you." Revelation 3:3
    "Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent." Revelation 3:19

    This biblical repentance is not legalism (the effort to be made righteous in standing by keeping Mosaic regulations). Repentance is a call to keep the commands of God in obedience to Him because this is right:

    "Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me." John 14:21
    "If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love" John 15:10
    "For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments." 1 John 5:3
    "since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.” 1 Peter 1:16

    I could cite many more passages on the above concepts but a forthright call to repentance relates to sanctification, not justification, and thus has nothing to do with legalism that relates to justification.

    You confuse the issues of justification and sanctification when you say the following: "God does make it quite clear that He does not want us to try to remedy the sin that His law reveals, lest we be considered insubordinate (Rom. 10:3), and are severed from all of Christ's benefits (Gal. 5)." Most certainly we do not remedy our sinful status through our own efforts to be justified but we are definitely involved in remedying our sinful state by changing how we live. God desires that those who by faith receive salvation deliberately express that salvation in a loving and obedient lifestyle. Deliberate obedience is not legalism (the effort to be justified through Mosaic regulations). We cannot remedy our status but we are commanded to remedy our state.

    You refer to John Calvin's thoughts on the ordo salutis (the logical order of the elements of salvation). It is important to recognize that when the reformers made such references they were speaking of a logical order not a chronological one. Calvin did not teach that justification precedes repentance in time. Though there may be a logical order to salvation's elements, they occur simultaneously. In Calvin's thought there is no justification apart from sanctification. As the Calvinist Charles Spurgeon said in All of Grace, we are not saved in our sin but from our sin. Spurgeon insisted that "the faith" included an obedient life:

    "But then it is very possible to deny the name and the faith by unholy living. Let none of us imagine that an orthodox creed can be of any use to us if we lead a heterodox life. No, Christ Jesus is to be obeyed as a Master as well as to be believed as a Teacher. The disciple is to be practically obedient, as well as attentively teachable. “Without holiness no man shall see the Lord.” The Apostle Paul somewhere says, “He that cares not for his own household has denied the faith and is worse than an infidel (or unbeliever).” So a moral fault may be a denial of the faith and may make a man worse than if he had never professed to believe at all. God save us from an unholy life!" -- Charles Spurgeon

    Whatever he may have said about the ordo salutis, John Calvin did not teach that repentance was a spontaneous, subjective thing that one should never be exhorted to:

    "[Repentance is] a true conversion of our life to God, proceeding from a sincere and serious fear of God, and consisting in the mortification or our flesh and of the old man, and in the vivification of the Spirit." Institutes, III:III.5.
    "The two branches of true penitence "“ the mortification of the flesh, and the vivification of the spirit." Institutes, III.III.8.
    "Repentance is nothing else but a reformation of the whole life according to the Law of God." Hosea Commentary, 432.
    "True repentance is firm and constant, and makes us war with the evil that is in us, not for a day or a week, but without end and without intermission." Short Treatise on the Supper of Our Lord in Tracts, II.178.
    "Repentance does not consist in one or two works, but in perseverance." Daniel Commentary, I:236.
    "The faithful ought throughout their whole life to repent"¦ for we must ever contend with the flesh." Jonah-Nahum Commentary, 104.
    "The exercise of repentance ought to be uninterrupted throughout our whole life." Synoptic Gospels Commentary, II:341

    This is not the legalistic seeking of a justified status through works, it is the seeking of a godly life through turning from sin to follow Christ in all of His ways.

    When you say "He rather wants us to believe apart from works, with fruits by the Spirit necessarily following" you clearly imply that obedience is a spontaneous work that involves no deliberate choices. Were this the case, the great many exhortations to godly living in the New Testament must be uninspired and the Bible unreliable. The fruit of the spirit is not born in our lives deterministically (as your comment implies) apart from our choices to obey.

    You may find the following article by me to be helpful --, as well as the following post --

    Sanctification (of which repentance is the beginning) and justification are necessarily separated in concept (for we trust in nothing of our works in justification) but they are inseparable in experience. Your comments seems a protracted effort to separate the two in experience which is an unbiblical effort that is rejected by the reformers such as Calvin whom you cite.


  3. Dustin H says:

    Hey thanks for the response :)

    Maybe I didn't communicate very well. I definitely believe that sanctification is a necessary result of trusting Christ alone for justification. In fact, that is what I experience too, the Spirit continually renewing me as I set my gaze on Christ alone.

    So I think we agree, that a person shouldn't feel a burden to try to exhibit traits of godliness in order to be justified (like hating sin or trying to overcome it) but rather lay hold of Christ by faith alone, and the necessary result is a life of repentance and sanctification.

    I get worried when someone reads a dictionary definition of repentance that they try to experience it in an unnatural way that can mix justification and sanctification, feeling like "I need to hate sin before I can go to Christ."

    Does that make sense?

    Thank you for your time!


  4. David Kowalski says:


    I understood you quite clearly in both of your comments. Again you refer to "the necessary result is a life of repentance and sanctification." This is not the biblical model for godly living. The biblical model is not a deterministic one that flows spontaneously with no thought given to turning from sin and choosing to obey. The problem with your comments is the unscriptural insistence on "necessary" or deterministic godliness which would mindlessly result from a chronologically separated faith and involve no conscious "obeying," "self control," "striving," or "diligence" as the Bible commands (see I again recommend this article and the other post that I linked to in my previous response --

    Sanctification and justification are logically separable but not chronologically so. That is the concept that makes sense from Scripture. One does turn from sin at the same time they turn to Christ because one cannot turn to Christ while facing away from Him in a deliberately sinful lifestyle! You are trying to separate what God has joined together in justification and sanctification, and in faith and repentance.

    One will not believe or repent without the initiative of the Holy Spirit but when the Holy Spirit touches a life, that person does both of these things simultaneously. Even though belief logically precedes repentance the two are so chronologically inseparable that if you examine the terms as they are used in NT evangelism, you will find they are used interchangeably.

    One does need to hate sin in order to turn to Christ. A lover of sin will not turn to the Holy One. This is where the simultaneous nature of belief and repentance becomes even more evident. You seem to wish to choose belief as chronologically prior to repentance and repentance as deterministically following spontaneously from this. Neither of these concepts is biblical and both lead to Antinomianism. I fully understand your points but I find them to be at odds with Scripture.


  5. Dustin H says:

    Again, thanks for the time. I want to say I'm not trying to argue. I'm hoping for a thoughtful discussion about something very important. You have given this a lot of thought and work and I'm hoping to learn through this. May God bless our conversation.

    The reason I am a little hesitant to articulate it like you is for two reasons:

    1) Man is in helpless bondage to sin. Rom 7 & 8. The Law reveals that we cannot help but sin apart from Christ. And our Lord said that apart from Him we can do nothing.

    2) The gospel demands on the pain of a curse that we do not work in order to be justified.

    #1: The Law exposes and arouses our sin in such a way that we cry out "Who will save me from this body of death?" There is no trustworthy ability in man to determine not to sin anymore. I cannot offer that to God. The thing I wish to do, I do not do, but the very thing I hate. The best man can offer God is a moment of resolve that vanishes soon after in the face of his own weakness. It cannot be that God is asking for any kind of effectual resolve from us. His Law proves to us that we cannot do it.

    #2: And does not this prepare us to receive this gospel--apart from works? By the works of the Law shall no man be justified, for through the Law comes the knowledge of sin (Rm. 3), and if it had not been for the Law, I would not have known sin, then Paul goes on to discuss covetousness with all its desire overwhelming him (Rm. 7). Our inability serves to exalt Christ alone. And trusting Him alone, we experience the power of the Spirit by whom we do *what we cannot* on our own. To me, the God of the Bible wants us to know our inability and rely on Him from there (story of Gideon). We have a will, but that will is not born out of righteousness or strength so that I can determine a path of righteousness. I turn to Christ precisely because of the way the Law humbles me and shows me I am not righteous like God. The fruits of love, faithfulness, etc, come through faith apart from works, and those who trust one work are severed from these benefits of the Spirit.

    I am not saying that there is no decision on our part, but our decision for Christ is birthed out of need, not determination not to sin. Our faith in Him is the result of our inability to determine good. I refer to Rom. 7.

    So, I believe I can't be faithful or loving apart from the Spirit (which again is revealed under the Law clearly) and I believe that if I try to exhibit any fruits of the Spirit as a basis for acceptance, I am severed from his benefits. The reformers talked about faith alone being the sole condition for justification, with no mixture of infused righteousness or good works. Repentance follows because of the renewal of the Spirit. While they are experienced together, surely my trust cannot be mixed. Surely I cannot actually believe that I must work, too, as a condition.

    Correct me if I'm wrong, but what I feel I'm hearing from you is this: Even though faith and repentance, justification and sanctification are separated theologically, they are together experientially (I agree this far, but what follows is my concern), thus in order to be justified, we must begin the work of not sinning.

    Am I wrong?

    These quotes from Calvin, to me, go another direction than you were going about the experience of faith and repentance as opposed to the theological order:

    > Still, when we attribute the origin of repentance to faith, we do not dream of some period of time in which faith is to give birth to it: we only wish to show that a man cannot seriously engage in repentance unless he know that he is of God. But no man is truly persuaded that he is of God until he have embraced his offered favor. These things will be more clearly explained as we proceed.

    Calvin, John (2008-04-03). Institutes of the Christian Religion (Kindle Locations 11029-11031). Signalman Publishing. Kindle Edition.

    - Note: a man must *know* he is in God's favor and without this he *cannot* seriously engage in repentance. So Calvin did not teach that I repent to meet a condition to get into God's favor. Not only is the order clear theologically in his teaching, but also psychologically. In time and space, a man must be assured that he is forgiven before he can repent.

    More related quotes:

    > Some are perhaps misled by this, that not a few are subdued by terror of conscience, or disposed to obedience before they have been imbued with a knowledge, nay, before they have had any taste of the divine favor (see Calvin in Acts 20:21).

    Calvin, John (2008-04-03). Institutes of the Christian Religion (Kindle Locations 11031-11034). Signalman Publishing. Kindle Edition.

    > no man will ever reverence God who does not trust that God is propitious to him, no man will ever willingly set himself to observe the Law who is not persuaded that his services are pleasing 511to God.

    Calvin, John (2008-04-03). Institutes of the Christian Religion (Kindle Locations 11038-11040). Signalman Publishing. Kindle Edition.

  6. David Kowalski says:


    I have approved your comment although you have surpassed my long-stated limit of two comments per person per thread. "Comment" is not a synonym for protracted debate, and if you think you have more to say you should write an article of your own. Salvation clearly enters our experience by God's initiative, not our own. Even our seeking of him (which is a prerequisite to finding) is in response to His drawing us to Himself. I will assume the most orthodox interpretation of your latest comment. Still, you conflate issues that should be considered separately in concept, and you divorce elements of our experience that should be considered separately theologically but cannot be experienced in isolation.

    Repentance is not part of our justification and does not function the same way in our lives. God enables our repentance but we cooperate with that enablement. You concede that God wants us to "rely on him" but human pride will not allow us to do even this without divine enablement. Still, we must humble ourselves before God -- something we choose to do as part of our repentance.

    You persist in conflating justification and sanctification when you say, "The fruits of love, faithfulness, etc, come through faith apart from works, and those who trust one work are severed from these benefits of the Spirit." "Faith apart from works" is a term used in Scripture with relation to our justification, not our sanctification.

    "Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win. Everyone who competes in the games exercises self-control in all things. They then do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. Therefore I run in such a way, as not without aim; I box in such a way, as not beating the air; but I discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified." (1 Corinthians 9:24-27)

    "And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence so as to realize the full assurance of hope until the end, so that you will not be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises." (Hebrews 6:11-12)

    "Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence, and in your moral excellence, knowledge, and in your knowledge, self-control, and in your self-control, perseverance, and in your perseverance, godliness, and in your godliness, brotherly kindness, and in your brotherly kindness, love." (2 Peter 1:5-7)

    "But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves." (James 1:22)

    You say that God enables us only to "will out of need" but "not determination not to sin." In this you insist that God does not make us new creatures who actually will to do good and choose the sanctified lifestyle because obedience to God is the right thing to do.

    I believe we are saved by Christ's imputed, forensic, righteousness alone. Our works contributed nothing to our justification but this does not negate that commands to godly living are addressed to believers throughout the New Testament. You say "what I feel I'm hearing from you is this: Even though faith and repentance, justification and sanctification are separated theologically, they are together experientially (I agree this far, but what follows is my concern), thus in order to be justified, we must begin the work of not sinning." I am sorry but what you feel has nothing to do with anything I said. Your feelings make a straw man out of my belief system. I certainly do not believe that "to be justified we must begin the work of not sinning." I cannot understand what made you feel this straw man was true of me. As T. Edward Damer says, "attacking a straw man is a sign of weakness." It shows that one has run out of legitimate argumentation.

    Your quotes from Calvin only support what I have been saying. Faith and repentance are inseparable in experience. Faith logically precedes repentance but does not do so chronologically. This is why the terms faith and repentance are sometimes used interchangeably in NT evangelism:

    "Now when they heard this, they were pierced to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, 'Brethren, what shall we do? Peter said to them, 'Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 For the promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off, as many as the Lord our God will call to Himself.'" -- Acts 2:37-38

    “So, King Agrippa, I did not prove disobedient to the heavenly vision, 20 but kept declaring both to those of Damascus first, and also at Jerusalem and then throughout all the region of Judea, and even to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, performing deeds appropriate to repentance." -- Acts 26:19-21

    James said that a so-called faith that does not issue in repentance from sin is not biblical faith which is conjoined with the godly living it expresses:

    "What use is it, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but he has no works? Can that faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister is without clothing and in need of daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and be filled,” and yet you do not give them what is necessary for their body, what use is that? 17 Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself. 18 But someone may well say, “You have faith and I have works; show me your faith without the works, and I will show you my faith by my works.” 19 You believe that God is one. You do well; the demons also believe, and shudder. 20 But are you willing to recognize, you foolish fellow, that faith without works is useless? 21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up Isaac his son on the altar? 22 You see that faith was working with his works, and as a result of the works, faith was perfected; 23 and the Scripture was fulfilled which says, “And Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness,” and he was called the friend of God. 24 You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone. 25 In the same way, was not Rahab the harlot also justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out by another way? 26 For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead. -- James 2:14-26

    John likewise indicates the union of faith and repentance:

    "Everyone who practices sin also practices lawlessness; and sin is lawlessness. 5 You know that He appeared in order to take away sins; and in Him there is no sin. 6 No one who abides in Him sins; no one who sins has seen Him or knows Him." 1 John 3:4-6

    Your quotes from Calvin lead me to think you are Calvinist in orientation. Perhaps the following quote from Calvinist theologian Wayne Grudem will be helpful to you:

    "Repentance is a heartfelt sorrow for sin, a renouncing of it, and a sincere commitment to forsake it and walk in obedience to Christ.
    This definition indicates that repentance is something that can occur at a specific point in time, and is not equivalent to a demonstration of change in a person’s pattern of life. Repentance, like faith, is an intellectual understanding (that sin is wrong), an emotional approval of the teachings of Scripture regarding sin (a sorrow for sin and a hatred of it), and a personal decision to turn from it (a renouncing of sin and a decision of the will to forsake it and lead a life of obedience to Christ instead)….

    Scripture puts repentance and faith together as different aspects of the one act of coming to Christ for salvation. It is not that a person first turns from sin and next trusts in Christ, or first trusts in Christ and then turns from sin, but rather that both occur at the same time. When we turn to Christ for salvation from our sins, we are simultaneously turning away from the sins that we are asking Christ to save us from...

    Of course sometimes faith alone is named as the thing necessary for coming toChrist for salvation (see John 3:16; Acts 16:31; Rom. 10:9; Eph. 2:8–9, et al.). These are familiar passages and we emphasize them often when explaining the gospel to others. But what we do not often realize is the fact that there are many other passages where only repentance is named, for it is simply assumed that true repentance will also involve faith in Christ for forgiveness of sins.

    The New Testament authors understood so well that genuine repentance and genuine faith had to go together that they often simply mentioned repentance alone with the understanding that faith would also be included, because turning from sins in a genuine way is impossible apart from a genuine turning to God. Therefore, just before Jesus ascended into heaven, he told his disciples, “Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be preached in his name to all nations” (Luke 24:46–47). Saving faith is implied in the phrase “forgiveness of sins,” but it is not explicitly named...

    Preaching the need for faith without repentance is preaching only half of the gospel." -- Wayne Grudem.

    Christians are people justified by faith who subsequently (in logic, not time) repent of sin and turn to follow Christ because they love Him and want to obey His commands.

    I would also recommend you read the articles I link to above in the analysis of Joseph Prince's Antinomianism. God bless you Dustin and may God alone be glorified in His church. Again, if you wish to express yourself at greater length, I would suggest you write an article.


  7. David Kowalski says:

    One more comment on Dustin's remarks. He says, "man is in helpless bondage to sin" but then hypothetically "worries" that someone in helpless bondage to sin will feel it is necessary to repent and hate sin (in the "wrong" way) after reading a Bible Dictionary (which he mysteriously presumes will provide non-gifted, incomplete, and misleading information in its extensive, scholarly article on repentance). I would suggest that someone helplessly bound by sin will not even concern himself with turning to Christ and following Him unless moved upon by the Spirit of God (in the "right" way).

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This post was last updated: Nov. 27, 2014