By B. H. Carroll
We may then say of the preacher who dares to leave out repentance in his preaching, that he leaves out one-half the terms of salvation and vitiates the other half; that he builds only air castles; that he vainly attempts to run the gospel relief train where there is no prepared track; that he commends the doctor to well people; that he baptizes raw sinners and whitewashes the carnal nature; that he sows among thorns and in stubble land, in stony ground and on underlying rocks. We may also say of the preacher who minifies this doctrine that he thereby minifies the necessity for Christ; hence dwarfs the Redeemer himself. It is little sick – little physician; little sinner – little Saviour. It must be evident, therefore, that it is the duty of every preacher of the gospel to preach repentance just as often, and with as much emphasis, and to as many people, as he preaches faith. As illustrative of the value of such preaching it may be justly said of all the great preachers, like Spurgeon, Bunyan Whitefield, Moody, Jonathan Edwards, and, indeed, all who have been successful in winning souls to Christ, that they all laid great and frequent stress on the duty of repentance. From all these things it certainly ought to follow that preachers at least should have clear conceptions of the meaning, place and relations of repentance. Usually, however, they have not these clear conceptions. Many cannot define the term. If a thousand were asked to write out in succession a definition in the fewest possible words, but few of them would give the right definition, and there would be great vagueness, variety and contradiction in the others. It is proper to state a few examples of variant definitions given by prominent people:
Sam Jones: "Quit your meanness."
D. L. Moody: "Right about face."
Alexander Campbell: "Reformation."
The Romanist Bible (rendering Matthew 3:2): "Do penance."
A. W. Chambliss: "Godly sorrow for sin."
Our common version, in Matthew 27:3, makes it equivalent to "Remorse of conscience."
Many speakers and writers: "Restitution."
M. T. Martin: "Knowing God and turning from dead works."
Such variations in definitions (and many others might be added) sufficiently indicate the necessity of a closer study of this doctrine in the New Testament than is ordinarily given to it.
[From J. B. Cranfill, editor, An Interpretation of the English Bible, Volume 10, "The Four Gospels", 1948. Scanned and formatted by Jim Duvall.]
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