A False Teaching On Repentance By Dr. Bob Wilkin

By David J. Stewart | February 2019

Mark 1:15, “And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.”

       In the July/August 2018 “GRACE IN FOCUS” newsletter, Dr. Robert (Bob) Wilkin says something disturbing. He claims that repentance is not necessary for salvation. Dr. Wilkin states:

“Repentance is not necessary to be born again. It is necessary to escape temporal wrath in this life. The only condition of the new birth is faith in Christ.”

SOURCE: Dr. Bob Wilkin; July/August 2018 “GRACE IN FOCUS” newsletter.

The Holy Bible does NOT agree with Mr. Wilkin. God says in Mark 1:15b, “repent ye, and believe the Gospel.” Clearly repentance IS necessary for salvation. What does it mean to “repent”? Repentance is simply a change of mind—a change of mind from wrong thinking to right thinking—a change of mind from what I think I must do to get to Heaven, to what God says I must do to get to Heaven!

Dr. Wilkin has a Ph.D. from Dallas Theological Seminary. Kindly, I am rather surprised that Pastor Wilkin has taken this unbiblical position, because he was a doctrinally sound Bible teacher (as far as I know) prior to his change. Again we read in Acts 20:21, “Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.” Clearly repentance toward God is necessary for salvation. Carefully notice that the Bible doesn't say “repentance from sin,” but “repentance toward God.” We are not saved by turning away from anything; but rather, by turning toward God through faith in His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ!

Repentance is admitting to almighty God that I am a guilty sinner, as guilty as He hath declared me to be in His Holy Word; and I am saved by placing my childlike faith in the Good News of the precious crucified, buried and risen only begotten Son of God, the Savior, Jesus Christ!

We see the opposite of repentance in John 3:19-20, “And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.” When a man repents, he changes his mind TOWARD GOD, which compels him to BELIEVE the Gospel for salvation. If a person didn't repent, they would NEVER come to Christ as Savior to be forgiven of their sins.

The way salvation works, Biblically, is you acknowledge you are a guilty sinner in God's sight (Romans 3:19), and you trust the Good News (Gospel) of Jesus Christ crucified on the cross, buried and risen the third day to pay for those sins; immediately upon which the blessed Holy Spirit comes to indwell (live inside) your body, which is now God's “temple” (1st Corinthians 3:16-17). It is the precious Holy Spirit, which Romans 8:9 calls “the Spirit of Christ,” that changes a believer over time, as we grow in the milk of the Word of God (1st Peter 2:2).

This is why it is critically important that a new believer not be given a corrupt modern Bible version, which will instill many erroneous ideas into their thinking. For example: One sincere man wrote to me and thought Jesus wasn't God, because he had read the corrupt translation in the English Standard version (ESV) from Philippians 2:6 that Jesus “did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped.” The inspired King James Bible says the exact opposite, that Jesus “thought it not robbery to be equal with God.” Sadly, and tragically, Bob Jones University (BJU) officially sanctions, sells and permits use of the ESV by its thousands of students. What a hellhole of apostasy!

Get mad at me if you want to, all you shallow Christians with your yellow-bellied cowards for pastors who wear lace on their underwear, because I am telling THE TRUTH! I just proved my point by contrasting Philippians 2:6. An unlearned person might read the corrupt rendering of Philippians 2:6 in the ESV, and go join the Jehovah's Witnesses (who love the Westcott and Hort Alexandria, Egypt, texts upon which all the corrupt modern perversions are based, including their perverse New World Translation authored by Charles Taze Russell, their cult's founder in 1884).

I believe that Dr. Bob Wilkin is definitely saved, just a bit confused doctrinally. He does not add turning from sins to the Gospel, which is a popular false teaching in many churches today. We are born-again by turning to God through faith in His Son, not by turning from anything. Repentance is a change of mind about anything and everything that is hindering you from believing the Gospel to be saved. We are saved solely by BELIEVING the Gospel. Dr. Wilkin agrees with that truth. Albeit, the doctrine of repentance is still important, because it is the difference between those who choose to come to Christ, and those who don't. God “now commandeth all men every where to repent” (Acts 17:30). I am not asking anyone to take my word for it. Romans 4:3a, “For what saith the Scripture?” We have some plain Scriptural statements, in Mark 1:15 and Acts 20:21, that repentance is required for salvation. Yes, we are saved only by believing; but without repentance, no one would ever believe!

Dr. Wilkin admittedly used to believe that repentance was “a change of mind,” but then in 1997 changed his views, and now teaches that repentance means “turning from sins,” which he confirms in his July/August 2018 “GRACE IN FOCUS” newsletter...

I believed in the change of mind view until around 1997. I even wrote my doctoral dissertation defending the change of mind view. But then I repented of my view of repentance. I believe that Biblical repentance is turning from sins. All NT examples fit that understanding. You can read an article on our website on why I changed my mind about repentance. It was published in our journal in 1998.

SOURCE: Dr. Bob Wilkin; July/August 2018 “GRACE IN FOCUS” newsletter.

Turning from sins is human reformation, not repentance unto life. For Scriptural support of what I am teaching, please consider 2nd Timothy 2:25, “In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth.” Carefully notice once again that repentance is not “from sins,” but “to the acknowledgement of the truth.” Amen, I love that! God says that you are a guilty sinner my friend! There is a “death” penalty for our sins (Romans 6:23), which includes a “second death” (Revelation 21:8) in “the lake of fire” (Revelation 20:15). Repentance is a matter of acknowledging the truth unto the Gospel itself, so that you will BELIEVE IT and be saved!!! I sure hope you will.

Dr. John R. Rice (1895-1980) explains repentance and faith well, I think. Dr. Rice used to teach that there are not two steps to salvation; but rather, just one step comprised of two parts (repentance and faith). In other words, you don't repent first, and then believe. Repentance and faith are inseparable, like voltage and current in electricity, and they happen at the same time.

One of my favorite illustrations of repentance and faith is taking an airplane ride from Michigan to Hawaii. You don't first get on a plane to leave Michigan, and then while in the air say, “Now I am going to go to Hawaii.” The fact of the matter is that you are already on your way to Hawaii! You are headed for your destination at the same time you are leaving your origin. Likewise, the man who believes the Gospel has repented, and the man who repents has believed. That is what Evangelist John R. Rice believed and taught, and I think he got it absolutely correct! The person who believes has repented. It is an automatic thing, so that a soulwinner need not mention repentance when witnessing to someone. A person wouldn't say, “I'm going to leave Michigan, and then fly to Hawaii.” You could just as easily say, “I'm flying to Hawaii.”

The fact of the matter is that Mark 1:15b says to, repent ye, and believe the Gospel.” So how can Pastor Wilkin totally disregard the Lord's plain words? Dr. Wilkin is teaching blatant heresy! I am not aware of any other theologian who teaches this strange doctrine, as taught by Dr. Wilkin. He still maintains the truth that eternal life is a free gift, which cannot be merited; but he makes the error of claiming that repentance is not necessary for salvation, which is not true at all.

Granted, we find the word “believe” in it's various forms mentioned 87 times in the Gospel of John. Yet the word “repent” is not mentioned even once. Clearly, this teaches us that believing includes repentance. We cannot ignore Acts 20:21 and Mark 1:15 and other applicable passages. Consider Hebrews 6:1, “Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God.” Again we see repentance and faith mentioned together. But carefully notice that the Holy Bible says, “repentance from dead works.” The Bible doesn't say “repentance from sins.” To be saved, a person must forsake their trust in the damnable sacraments of the Roman Catholic church. To be saved, a person must forsake their trust in the water baptism required by Mormonism, Seventh-day Adventism and the Jehovah's Witness' religious cults. Nothing else will satisfy the wrath of God against our sins, except the precious blood of the Lord Jesus Christ. Romans 5:9, “Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.”

As I have evidenced from the Scriptures, repentance is required for salvation, and it accompanies faith. It is a bad thing to say that repentance means “turning from sins,” as taught by Dr. Robert Wilkin, because it suggests that repentance is optional for salvation, which it is not. Acts 17:30-32, “And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent. Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead. And when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some mocked: and others said, We will hear thee again of this matter.” Clearly, from reading the context of this Scripture passage, it concerns salvation, speaking of Christ's resurrection from the dead. If repentance is not necessary for salvation, then why would God command all men everywhere to repent?

I could mention umpteen more Scripture passages, to support my position that repentance is necessary for salvation, but I will conclude this article with the Lord's compelling words from two passages:

First, in Mark 2:17, “When Jesus heard it, he saith unto them, They that are whole have no need of the physician, but they that are sick: I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” The Lord said He came into the world to call “SINNERS TO REPENTANCE”! The dear Lord didn't say He came to call sinners to “believe,” but to “repentance,” so that they would believe.

Second, in Matthew 21:32, “For John came unto you in the way of righteousness, and ye believed him not: but the publicans and the harlots believed him: and ye, when ye had seen it, repented not afterward, that ye might believe him.” This is a very important Scripture passage, because we clearly see here that repentance facilitated (made possible) believing! According to Dr. Wilkin, a person believes first to get saved, and then repentance follows at a later point. The Bible doesn't teach that! Jesus said they, “repented not afterward, that ye might believe him.” Clearly, repentance made it possible to believe.

Please understand that the purpose of my articles are never to shine a negative light on someone, nor to be critical of others, but solely “that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints” (Jude 1:3).

End Of Article

Mark 1:15: “...repent ye, and believe the gospel.”

“The mark of the child of God is that he loves everybody!”
(a quote from Pastor Jack Hyles' classic MP3 sermon, “FORGIVENESS”)

Mark 11:22, And Jesus answering saith unto them, Have faith in God.

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