Sunday, May 6, 2007

Repentance - Not Biblical?

A pastor by the name of Dr. Hank Lindstrom has been talking about repentance recently on his radio show, Bibleline. I have always understood repentance as one turning their back on sin. Dr. Lindstrom placed a doubt in my mind as to the definition of sin.

Dr. Lindstroms' argument is that the word repentance is a bad translation of the original Greek, "metanoia." (met-an'-oy-ah) Metanoia means a change of mind. (1) He basically says that repentance is simply a change of mind about who God is. We would go from thinking that Jesus is just a man to believing that Jesus is God.

I took the liberty of looking into this for myself and I did find some validity to Dr. Lindstroms argument. The original Greek, "metanoia," is used in 24 of the approximately 105 times the bible talks about repentance. However, the word seems to be used in verses that do refer specifically to a "change of mind."

Likewise, the original Greek word, "metanoeo," (met-an-o-eh'-o) appears 32 times and seems to appear in many of the verses that talk about repentance as a means to salvation. Metanoeo means to change one's mind for better, heartily to amend with abhorrence of one's past sins. (2) This does seem to fit with the traditional English definition of the word repent.

My mind is not completely made up as of yet, but I must say at this point, I'm leaning towards the traditional definition of the word. While I respect Dr. Lindstrom a great deal, it seems to me he might be a bit on the legalistic side of this arguement. Who knows, maybe God will still enlighten me on this one.

Luke 13:2,3 "And Jesus answering said unto them, Suppose ye that these Galilaeans were sinners above all the Galilaeans, because they suffered such things? I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent (metanoeo,) ye shall all likewise perish.

Acts 2:38 "Then Peter said unto them, Repent (metanoeo,) and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost."

Questions? Comments?

1. - The KJV New Testament Greek Lexicon

2. - The KJV New Testament Greek Lexicon