Dr. Curtis Hutson is 100% Correct on Repentance!
By David J. Stewart | August 2007 | Updated August 2014
There is a raging battle today over the matter of Biblical "repentance" in regards to salvation. Pastor Curtis Hutson (1934-1995), former editor of the Sword Of The Lord, has it 100% correct...Several years ago, after I finished preaching a Sunday morning service, several people trusted Christ as Saviour, including a lady and her five children. I noticed a man sitting on the same pew who did not respond. After the service, I spoke to him, while many of the members of the church were shaking hands with the lady, her children, and others who had trusted Christ that morning.
"Sir," I said, "is this your wife and children?"
"Yes," he replied.
I said, "Isn't it wonderful that they have trusted Christ as Saviour!"
"Yes," he replied.
Then I asked, "Have you trusted Christ as your Saviour?"
He dropped his head and said, "I'm afraid I haven't."
"May I ask why you haven't trusted Christ as Saviour?"
"Well," he said, "to be honest with you, I'm afraid I can't live it."
I suspected that this man had an idea that in order to be saved, he must promise God that he would never sin again, or he thought that repenting was turning from sin. So I pressed the issue. "What do you mean, you can't live it?"
"Well," he said, "I know that I will probably sin again."
I said, "Sir if getting saved is promising Jesus you will never sin again, then I would never get saved, because I know I cannot live a sinless life." I explained that to be saved one simply had to trust Jesus as Saviour. I opened the Bible to John 3:36 and read, "He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life." Then pointing to the verse, I asked, "Does the verse say 'He that believeth on the Son and lives it has everlasting life'?"
"Oh, no," he replied.
"Then what does the verse say?"
"He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life."
"Then must one believe on the Son and live it in order to be saved? Or must one simply believe on the Son, as the Bible says, to have everlasting life?"
"Well," he said, "I suppose that one must do what the Bible says - believe on the Son."
"Then will you trust Jesus Christ right now as your Saviour?"
With a smile on his face, he answered, "I certainly will." In a moment he joined his wife and children as the church members came by and shook hands, rejoicing with them in their decision to trust Christ as Saviour.
SOURCE: Repentance: What Does the Bible Teach?
Dr. Curtis Hutson is 100% correct!
David Cloud's Unnecessary Attacks Against Soulwinners
Many critics have attacked Brother Hutson's preaching, accusing him of preaching "Easy Believism"; But salvation is easy, and only requires childlike faith in the Lord Jesus Christ to be saved. Other critics, such as David Cloud, have wrongfully accused Brother Hutson of preaching "Easy Prayerism." The term "Easy Prayerism" is a dangerous term, because we read in Luke 18:13... "And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner."
David Cloud wrongfully accuses Brother Curtis Hutson of preaching “Easy Prayerism.” Easy Prayerism is a dangerous term, for we read in Luke 18:13... “And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.” The publican cried out to God in a simple, easy, sinner's PRAYER. And did not the repentant thief on the cross simply cry out to the Lord to be remembered? Yes, and he was immediately saved because He believed on the Lord as His personal Savior. I realize that some people pray a quick prayer, but do not get saved, because they are not really trusting the Lord. Satan's greatest weapon is to con people into living the Christian life without ever being born-again. I am confident this is the concern David Cloud is addressing; HOWEVER, it is extremely dangerous to criticize soulwinners who are following the Bible's commandment to preach the simple Gospel.
The truth is that a simple prayer is enough to save a person IF that person is sincerely turning to Christ in belief for forgiveness of sins. All a person needs to know to be saved is that they are a sinner, but Jesus is the risen Savior Who died for their sins upon the cross. If they call upon the Lord Jesus in faith, placing their trust solely in the Savior, they are saved! David Cloud is sowing discord amongst brethren (Proverb 6:19), and unnecessarily making God's simple plan of salvation difficult. Please read, The Simplicity of Salvation by Pastor Jack Hyles (1926-2001). Lordship Salvation has its origin in Roman Catholicism.
The publican cried out to God in a simple,
easy, sinner's PRAYER. I realize that some people pray a quick prayer, but do
not get saved, because there is no genuine repentance. I am
confident this is the concern David Cloud is addressing; HOWEVER, it is
extremely dangerous to criticize soulwinners who are following the Bible,
who are preaching the simple Gospel. The truth is that a simple prayer
is enough to save a person IF that person is sincerely turning
to Christ in belief for forgiveness of sins. All a person needs to
realize to be saved is that they are a sinner on their way to Hell. If
they call upon the Lord Jesus in faith, placing their trust in the Savior,
they are saved! David Cloud is sowing discord amongst brethren
(Proverb 6:19), and unnecessarily making God's simple plan of salvation
difficult. Please read,
The Simplicity of Salvation by Pastor Jack Hyles (1926-2001).
David Cloud's criticisms against some of America's mightiest soulwinners, such as Dr. Jack Hyles and Dr. Curtis Hutson, have caused much unnecessary confusion concerning "repentance." This is unfortunate. It is very important to understand at this point that repentance and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ are NOT two separate events in time. David Cloud is correct to teach that repentance and faith are two separate "aspects" of salvation; BUT, he is WRONG to attack Dr. Curtis Hutson's teaching that repentance and faith are NOT a process.
Brother Hutson taught the same correct doctrine as Dr. John R. Rice, i.e., that one who trusts Christ has also repented. Repentance and faith may be two separate aspects of salvation; BUT, they are not two separate events. The Biblical definition of "faith" is different from the Biblical definition of "repentance." This cannot be denied. They are two separate aspects of salvation. David Cloud falsely alleges that Brother Hutson and Dr. Jack Hyles are eliminating the aspect of repentance, by leading lost sinners in a quick sinner's prayer, but this is not the case at all.
David Cloud even stoops as low as labeling Pastor Jack Hyles as "The King of Shallow Soulwinning"; but David Cloud is shallow to attack America's mightiest men of God and soulwinners. We ought to be working together, instead of against each other. I thank God for Pastor Jack Hyles!!! Shame on David Cloud! I was a longtime member of First Baptist Church of Hammond, Indiana, where Dr. Hyles pastored for over 42 years since 1959.
I attended Hyles-Anderson College in Crownpoint, Indiana for 8 years (1985-1993). I graduated in 1993. During that time I faithfully sat under Brother Hyles' preaching at First Baptist Church of Hammond. Month after month during that time, I witnessed thousands of lost sinners coming to Christ for salvation, week after week, because of Dr. Hyles' ministry. Who is David Cloud to judge their sincerity? As a soulwinner in Dr. Hyles' ministry, I always explained to prospect converts that they were sinners, deserving of punishment in Hellfire. I showed them several Scriptures. I always explained to people that there were no magic words in a prayer that could save them; but rather, it was one's belief on the Lord Jesus Christ that saved them.
Acts 2:41 says that 3,000 people were saved and baptized in ONE DAY, and were added to the Church. The disciples didn't have time to make sure everyone understood exactly what they were doing. There was no time to indoctrinate, interview and filter each of the 3,000 converts before water baptizing them to make sure they understood everything correctly. There was no need, because salvation is that simple. If you believe that Jesus in the risen Christ Who died on the cross to pay for YOUR SINS, you are saved. If that's your hope for eternal life, you are born-again! (John 3:16).
The intent of this article is not to critique
David Cloud; but rather, to defend the Biblical truth of the simplicity of
salvation which Dr Hyles and Dr. Hutson upheld faithfully. I actually like
David Cloud and admire his hard work and zeal to contend for the faith; but
he discredits, hinders and makes a fool of himself by slandering the
greatest preachers and effective soul-winners of the 20th century. God deliver us
from the arrogant intelligencia who make salvation hard, by corrupting the simplicity
that is in Christ.
David Cloud Maliciously Attempts to Pitch Dr. John R. Rice Against His Successor, Dr. Curtis Hutson
On David Cloud's website, he uses Dr. John R. Rice's excellent Gospel presentation titled, What Must I DO To Be Saved. Unfortunately, David Cloud takes Brother Rice's writings out-of-context, in a malicious attempt to discredit Dr. Curtis Hutson and Pastor Jack Hyles. Mr. Cloud states...
THE ERROR OF DEFINING REPENTANCE MERELY AS A CHANGE OF MIND (Cloud)
"Another man who has widely influenced the doctrine of repentance held by independent Baptists is the late Curtis Hutson, former editor of the Sword of the Lord. His 1986 booklet “Repentance: What Does the Bible Teach?” has been distributed widely. Hutson boldly denied that repentance means to turn from sin (p. 4). He denied that repentance is sorrow for sin (p. 8). He even denied that repentance means “a change of mind that leads to a change of action” (p. 16). He claimed that repentance simply is “to change one’s mind” and that it did not necessarily result in a change of life. In an attempt to build his doctrine of repentance, Curtis Hutson quoted Scripture that appears to support his position but he ignored the Scriptures that plainly denounce his position. He misquoted the writings of men like his predecessor John R. Rice. He also mixed in a heavy dose of human reasoning."
Mr. Cloud specifically focuses on Dr. Rice's words...
To repent literally means to have a change of mind or spirit towards God and toward sin. It means to turn from your sins, earnestly, with all your heart, and trust in Jesus Christ to save you.
SOURCE: What Must I DO To Be Saved, by Dr. John R. Rice
Considering this quote by itself, one could be misled to believe that Brother Rice was teaching Lordship Salvation; BUT, he certainly is not. David Cloud fails to take the entirety of Dr. Rice's article into consideration. Dr. Rice goes on to state...
The change in your heart, sinner, is God's part and you may be sure He will attend to that. Your part is to simply believe in Him. Whatever else is necessary in your eternal salvation, the Lord attends to when you trust in Him, or believe in Him.
SOURCE: What Must I DO To Be Saved, by Dr. John R. Rice
This is exactly what Brother Hutson and Pastor Hyles taught. Salvation is of God, not man. Our part is simply to believe, but it is God who changes our heart. David Cloud places this burden of change upon the lost sinner as a sort of prerequisite for salvation. Interestingly, David Cloud doesn't present his own article on how to be saved, but rather twists the words of Dr. John R. Rice in an attempt to attack America's mightiest soulwinners. Dr. Rice further states...
“One who believes in Christ has repented.”
SOURCE: What Must I DO To Be Saved, by Dr. John R. Rice
This statement alone by Dr. John R. Rice clearly blows David Cloud right out of the water! Mr. Cloud accuses Dr. Curtis Hutson of MISQUOTING Dr. Rice, but it is certainly the other way around. It is David Cloud who is misquoting Dr. Rice.
Here is a quote from Dr. Curtis Hutson, with a quote which he provides from Dr. John R. Rice...
[Dr. John R. Rice] went on to explain that when one trusts Christ as Saviour he also repents.
In an article in THE SWORD OF THE LORD, Dr. John R. Rice said:
"Sometimes the preacher does not himself fully understand the plan of salvation. He thinks of salvation as a process. First, there is a period of conviction, then a period of repentance, then an act of faith."
Dr. Rice is absolutely right. Faith and repentance are the same; they are not two separate decisions. One cannot trust Christ as Saviour without repenting or changing his mind. The very fact that he trusts Christ for salvation shows that he has changed his mind regarding sin, salvation, and God.
If one book of the Bible had to be considered "the salvation book," it would have to be the Gospel of John. The Gospel of John is printed and distributed more than any other book of the Bible. The purpose of this book is given in John 20:31, "But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name."
According to this verse, the whole purpose of the Gospel of John is that men might believe that Jesus is the Christ and believing they might have life through His name. In other words, it is written that men might be saved. Yet "repent" or "repentance" is not used one single time in the Gospel of John. On the other hand, "believe" is used more than ninety times in the twenty-one chapters.
SOURCE: Repentance: What Does the Bible Teach?
Curtis Hutson and John R. Rice are 100% in AGREEMENT on repentance! Dr. Rice further states...
"Repentance is inseparable from faith. The Greek word for repentance in the Bible simply means a change of mind; that is, a wholesome change of attitude toward sin and toward God. One who turns his heart to trust in Christ has, naturally, turned his heart away from the love of sin."
SOURCE: Dr. Rice, Here is My Question...; pg. 248, by Dr. John R. Rice, Sword Of The Lord Publishers; ISBN: 0-87398-158-8
Let us ponder the words of Jesus, who said in John 6:37, "...him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out." Any sinner who sincerely wants to be saved, may be saved, if he'll simply come by way of the precious blood of Jesus.
Does a person have to stop sinning to be saved? No, that would be impossible. Acts 26:20 says, “that they should repent and turn to God, and do works meet for repentance.” The word “meet” in the Greek is axios and means “deserving, comparable or suitable-worthy.” The Bible is saying that we ought to do works worthy of the salvation that we've been freely given in Christ Jesus. Scriptural evidence for this teaching is found in 1st Corinthians 6:20, “For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's.” Carefully notice that the Bible does not say to do works to make one worthy of being saved; but rather, to do works meet (worthy) for repentance. No one is worthy of salvation. No one!
Evangelist Lester Roloff beautifully put it this way... “Real repentance is putting your trust in Jesus Christ so you will not live like that anymore.” Departing from a sinful lifestyle is a matter of appreciation for what the Lord has done for us, of obeying God as His child, and not as a condition of saving-faith.
David Cloud is barking up an empty tree for sure. Now, is that to say that there aren't some people who claim to trust Jesus, who have never genuinely repented? Of course not. They are plenty of imposters today, who masquerade as Christians, but are not. David Cloud wrote a book years ago titled, Repentance is More Than a Sinner's Prayer. Did not the thief on the cross turn to Christ in a sinner's prayer? Yes, he did. Did not the publican cry out to God for mercy in a sinner's prayer? Yes, he certainly did. David Cloud's error is that he views repentance and faith in Christ as two separate events, which they are not. Here are Mr. Cloud's own words...
If repentance and faith are the same, why does the Bible make such a plain distinction between them? “Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ” (Acts 20:21). In reality, repentance and faith are two different actions..."
David Cloud attempts to use Acts 20:21 to support his heresy. Now, I'm about to PROVE that David Cloud doesn't know what he's talking about, in defense of my friends Dr. Curtis Hutson and Dr. Jack Hyles...
Granville Sharp's Rule of Greek Exegesis
Sadly, Mr. Cloud falls short of 2nd Timothy 2:15. He simply does not study! Acts 20:21 does not teach two separate actions at all! Repentance and faith are shown as the same thing in this verse. Here is why;
“Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ”.
Any time two singular Greek nouns appear in a sentence and are connected by the conjunction "and" (kai Greek) and the definite article "ho" precedes the first noun, but not the second, they both mean the same person! This means that the appositive, our Lord Jesus Christ, is referring to "God" in the first clause! Rendering this into the sentence it is then to be read as follows:
Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, ("EVEN") or ("that is") faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ”.
This is what Paul was preaching! Repentance toward God, using the Granville Sharp's rule of Greek exegesis, is synonymous (means the same) as faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.
Faith and repentance are the same event according to Greek grammatical rendering of this verse. However, David Cloud does not follow good biblical interpretation, and ends up with a false interpretation to support his false claims. If we need to be right about anything in the Bible, it is SALVATION. If we are wrong here we will be wrong everywhere else, not to mention our destination if we believe a false Gospel.
The bottom line to Cloud's teaching on repentance is that you cannot come to Christ for salvation unless you first intend not to walk in sin after you receive Him. This is "qualification by works" as a prerequisite for receiving Christ as Savior. David Cloud is teaching utter heresy. Thank God for men like Dr. Curtis Hutson that don't try to make salvation difficult.
"But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ." —2nd Corinthians 11:3
Ye Must Be Born Again!