Book Review: Repentance and the 20th Century Man by Jack Miller

I believe this title is now being sold with the title, “Repentance and the 21st Century Man” by C. John (“Jack”) Miller.  I picked up a new copy from an Amazon reseller this past week for less than $1 and read it over the past two days.  It is not long or complex, but it is outstanding for its explanation of the importance of a right understanding of true repentance.

The doctrine of repentance today is sadly either ignored and neglected, or wrongly thought and taught even within the church. Yet without a right understanding of what true, Biblical repentance really is and how God uses it to draw people to Himself, many people are left with a superficial assurance of a salvation they do not have. Without God granting true repentance to our deceitfully wicked hearts, there is no true saving faith in Christ, no matter how we (or other people) try to convince ourselves that there may be. As Paul Washer says, “If you don’t have a new relationship with your sin, you don’t have a new relationship with God.”

Jack Miller discusses many of the common misconceptions and wrong influences that effect our understanding of the teachings, work, and person of Jesus Christ and what was accomplished on the cross. He discusses the deceptive teaching of the “carnal Christian”, the difference between penance and repentance, and the need of ongoing repentance in the lives of believers.

His discussion of repentance as contrasted with penance (and the confusion for many between the two) was very effective and enlightening. I don’t think I’ve read or heard anyone else distinguish between these two concepts as simply and directly as the author does here. And although it was presented in a simple and straight-forward manner, it was still quite profound.

He also communicated the great need of repentance in living a “Spirit-filled life”, as well as it’s necessity in our evangelism and witnessing–in our own hearts and not just in the message we preach to the lost–in a way that seemed so obvious and made so much sense I had to wonder why what Mr. Miller had to say seems so strange for us to hear because it is so essential, yet sadly so neglected.

I am very thankful to have read this little book on repentance by Jack Miller, and if the Lord chooses to grant me many more days, I will probably return to it several more times for reflection. The theme of this book has been too long neglected by the church, although I am thankful that there seems to be a returning to the important doctrines of true faith in Jesus Christ, and a turning away from the superficial, self-centered (that is, MAN-centered) “doctrines” that invaded the 20th century church with its powerless gospel that elevated men, but that ignores and hide theirs sins. Such a gospel has no power to save, indeed, it is not a gospel at all.

Then he said to them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.” Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, and said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. (Luke 24:44-47)

Peace & Blessings,
Simple Mann


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