May 28, 2019

Repent & Believe, Part 15: How Important is It?

The foundational issue regarding gospel extremes centers on one’s understanding of what it means to repent and believe. How important is it? It could cost the very souls of men and women.

Dr. John Van Gelderen

On one occasion, a lady who operated a country/western radio station heard the gospel and expressed a desire to receive the Savior. However, the witness speaking with her, having adopted a lordship salvation position in reaction to easy-believism, maintained that the woman must discontinue operations at the station in order to be saved. Tragically, the woman responded by backing down from making a decision for Christ. Far better would it have been to see her trust Christ for salvation and then, on that basis, teach her to grow spiritually and deal with the lifestyle issue through the power of the Spirit. In this case, it was not a matter of the woman bringing up an issue or association she would cling to over salvation. Involvement with the radio station was made an issue to her as part of the object of dependence.

Believers must learn to declare the gospel—plus nothing, minus nothing.

The biblical balance of believe and repent reveals the importance of declaring the gospel to sinners in order to see people saved and then declaring the gospel to saints to see people grow. Sinners must hear of sin, judgment, credited righteousness based on the finished work of Christ, and the decision of faith/repentance. Saints, in turn, absolutely need to learn the truth of the Spirit-filled life. Maintaining this precision of emphasis will keep the evangel crystal clear when ministering both to sinners and to saints.


Dr. John Van Gelderen
Revival Focus

Site Publisher Addendum:

When a man [teaching Lordship Salvation] tries to carefully introduce verses about discipleship as though they are strictly evangelistic, remember that the Bible teaches that the lost must come to Christ for salvation and then follow after Him in discipleship. Salvation and discipleship are two very different things. We must not use verses intended to teach discipleship to try to lead a man to Christ. To do so creates confusion and frustration. The message becomes a gospel of faith, plus works…. Salvation has primarily to do with Jesus Christ as Savior; discipleship has primarily to do with Jesus Christ as Lord. Salvation is the new birth, a one-time event in which a man by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost (Titus 3:5) is saved from sin, death and Hell. Discipleship is a process, maturing and growing as a believer over a lifetime, “in grace, and [in] the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3:18).  (In Defense of the Gospel: Biblical Answers to Lordship Salvation [Rev. & Expanded Edition] pp. 93-94)

Previous Articles in the Repent & Believe Series
Part Ten: The Clarity of Turning to Christ


Part Eight: Confusing Terminology: “Turn from Sin

May 24, 2019

Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address


This is an article that I reissue every Memorial Day weekend and on the anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attack on our nation. Let us once again remember, but never forget, those who serve today, those who served throughout our nation's heritage and the fallen who gave their all that we might be free.


Our leaders and military responded to the 9/11 attacks with tenacity and determination. In the early years we dealt serious blows to the terrorists, nations that offered them safe haven and seriously diminished their capability to attack us here at home. There is much work yet to be done, but I am confident America, under principled leadership, will prevail and eliminate this threat to our nation and way of life.

For this commemorative moment I would like to focus our attention on another national tragedy, the American Civil War. There were many terrible battles in that war: Antietem, Fredericksburg, Chickamauga and Vicksburg. None was more costly, nor so much at stake than at the Battle of Gettysburg. After three days of battle there were approximately 50,000 American casualties.

One of the most endearing and treasured memories from Gettysburg was not forged on the battlefield itself. No, for we must go forward to November 19, 1863 when President Abraham Lincoln came to honor what had been done there and deliver his immortal
Gettysburg Address.


On June 1, 1865, Senator Charles Sumner commented on what is now considered the most famous speech by President Abraham Lincoln. In his eulogy on the slain president, he called it a “monumental act.” He said Lincoln was mistaken that “the world will little note, nor long remember what we say here.” Rather, the Bostonian remarked, “The world noted at once what he said, and will never cease to remember it. The battle itself was less important than the speech.” (From Abraham Lincoln Online)

With that I offer for your encouragement Lincoln’s
Gettysburg Address.

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we cannot dedicate -- we can not consecrate -- we can not hallow -- this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work, which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us -- that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion -- that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain -- that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom -- and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.