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Originally published in "The Lord's Coming Herald & Wesleyan Bible Prophecy Advocate," Fall Edition 2006

How Repentance Is Still Relevant Today

"The times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men everywhere to repent" (Acts 17:30).

God requires people to deal with the past. They cannot simply ignore it, or try to sweep it all under the rug, and go on, as in the philosophy that Christian conversion means merely turning over a new leaf of some kind, while leaving the dark skeletons of the past alone to rot away in the secret closets of our lives. Sadly, many today are trying to live a Christian life while never facing up to their soiled past, confessing and forsaking sin, or finding as a result thereby a changed new life.

Now is there really, in absolute fact, a "times of this ignorance" in our collective past, too, friends, that many of us are failing to deal with?

May I suggest that the times of our ignorance, friends, were the days when we were teaching major doctrinal heresy in our Bible college classrooms and in our ministerial study programs upwards now of thirty to fifty years ago. I am talking plainly about our official teaching of Larkin's Dispensational Truths and other works of dispensational premillennial fiction, which we did, in fact, teach widely in our educational circles in the not-so-distant past, and in some places, are still doing so yet today.

In case you are skeptical let me produce this bit of historical evidence: The Indiana South District of the Wesleyan Church, formerly Pilgrim Holiness, officially taught Blackstone's Jesus Is Coming in her ministrial study course cirriculum during the entire decade of the 1950's. You can look in the conference journals yourself to find this historical tidbit for a fact.

Now W.E. Blackstone taught classic Darbyism--the hype-Calvinistic Plymouth Brethern theory that Methodist theologian Dr. Daniel Steele, a mere half century earlier, had strenuously refuted as "a substitute for holiness or antinomianism revived!"

Why, then, should we wonder that within a few brief years the same connection was loosing the glory as a result of worldly compromisings that were nothing short of practical antinominaism? Friends, much of the modern Holiness movement has fulfilled what Steele wrote concerning the effect of premillennialism on the church in ages past: "it caused the apostasy of whole denominations," he said (Antinomianism Revived, p. 129).

The solution to this ignorance of our past, friends, is to bite the dust and repent! It is not to skim over the top, put our proverbial heads in the sand, and pretend like nothing terrible has gone wrong!

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