What is Biblical, genuine repentance? (Video removed. Download Greg's word study on repentance: Download Repentance Word Study)
Let me (Melinda) clarify the point Greg tried to make in the video blog yesterday: "Repentance Has Nothing to Do with Sin." The title was an overstatement meant to make a point, but instead led to misunderstanding.
Greg did not say or mean to imply that repentance is not necessary for salvation, as some have taken his meaning. His point was to clarify how the New Testament uses the word "repent," not the full theology and nature of repentance. That's what word studies do so we've changed the title to that more apt description.
The word "repent" is not a synonym for "repent from sin," which seems to be a common use of the word among Evangelicals. The word study demonstrates that "repent" in the New Testament means only "change of mind," and the context indicates whether it's a change of mind from something or a change of mind to something, and what that something is.
The habit we sometimes get into is that we don't use Biblical words in their accurate Biblical sense. So when we read the word in the Bible the tendency is to read the non-biblical meaning into the text, thus getting a false understanding of the passage. It's important to check our assumptions by studying words in their Biblical sense.
The point was that the word "repentance" itself has nothing to do with sin. It's the word used in context that might have to do with sin - or several other objects that we must change our mind from or change our mind to. We need to let the text tell us how to change our minds instead of reading meaning into the text.
The way the word study shows that "repent" is used in the New Testament indicates that the Gospel is not only an offer to repent from sin, but also to repent to God, that is change our minds to God. Repentance from sin is part of what the New Testament tell us to do, but not the whole message. Yet if we start with a misunderstanding of what "repent" means, we can easily miss the full meaning of the text.
A great number of people responding misunderstood my point, it was clear, and in hindsight I would state my case differently. The confusion, then, was partly my fault. Even when properly understood, though, my point will be controversial for some.
Therefore, we've decided to pull the video. I have no interest in causing unnecessary ill will, or possibly being perceived by some as being needlessly iconoclastic.
[UPDATE: Greg gives more detail in this audio clip.]