Re: [asa] Luke 15 (was Re: Repentance and Remorse)

From: Murray Hogg <>
Date: Sun Oct 11 2009 - 19:49:11 EDT

Hi Dave,

Thanks for the invitation not to respond, but as you've chosen to make my reading of scripture a matter of public comment, I think I'll take up my right of reply.

Let me say that, in my view, your response contains three significant misjudgements in respects of (1) myself; (2) the question at issue; and (3) the scriptural passages under discussion.

Taking these in order;

(1) I acknowledge, first up, that I may be misreading your first paragraph so what follows is predicated on what seems to me the implications of your remarks. Let me say that you may be speaking entirely out of your own experience rather than intending to insinuate anything about my situation - but precisely what you're getting at is not at all clear to me - unless I make the rather uncharitable assumption that you presume to have some sort of insight to my state of mind, religious experience and context.

Putting such assumptions aside I would offer only three remarks; (a) There is nothing "defensive" about responding to another person in a public list-serve; (b) The relevance of "the young who grew up in faith from infancy" totally escapes me; and (3) The relevance of that which is "encountered, but not emphasised, in Baptist circles" likewise totally escapes me.

If your point here is simply that certain people (i.e. the "churched" or certain Baptists) don't think joy is a fitting emotion to accompany repentance, then I quite readily concede it. Indeed, it's precisely the position to which I'm objecting.

But note that this is NOT the same issue as the question of whether joy is a fitting emotion to attend the Christian life, nor whether suffering should be absent from the Christian life, which brings us to the question of the point which is at issue;

(2) The point at issue is whether joy is a fitting emotion to attend repentance - NOT whether suffering and tears attend the Christian life.

Again, if you merely wish to assert that Christians suffer, then I readily concede the point.

But this is not the issue. The issue was repentance. Specifically, the issue was MY view of repentance in response to a specific question put by Burgey.

What I might think about suffering in the Christian life is, to be blunt, an irrelevance.

Thus, the only question is this; "is joy on the part of the one repenting a fitting emotion to attend repentance?" I fail to see how any balanced view of the matter - theologically or scripturally - can lead to an answer in the negative.

(3) In respects of the scriptures "on the table", I will be brief;

Luke 15 - two points are of significance. First, I specifically stated that I am dealing with the broad witness of scripture. I did NOT say that Luke 15 "proves" that we should rejoice at salvation - only that it is part of a broader picture. That picture is painted by the other passages I mentioned. Even ALLOWING that my reading of Luke 15 is in error, this substantial theological point is incontestable.

Second, I am not willing even to allow that my reading of Luke 15 is in error. In the first place, I stated only that the Parables of the Lost Sheep and the Lost Coin demonstrate "ipso facto" that rejoicing at repentance is merited on our part. Frankly, Dave, I don't care much WHICH sinner is repenting (myself or anybody else) - I think it a happy day as per the old African-American Spiritual. And if that repentance makes God and the angels rejoice why should we not find that fact, in and of itself, reason for joy on our part?

And in the second place, did you not read the Parable of the Prodigal Son - also in Luke 15? If not, please do so and then tell me: precisely where was the prodigal when the household was celebrating his return?

2 Cor 7:9 - you would have done well to read this scripture in context as well;

2 Cor 7:4 - "I am exceedingly joyful in all our tribulation."
2 Cor 8:2 - "in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy"

The simple upshot is this;

My claim was never that the Christian life is devoid of sufferings, NOR that remorse for sin is an inappropriate emotion. I was simply expressing the view that there is another side to the coin - that scripture is shot through with testimony to the fact that joy is properly associated with salvation.

Intrinsic to this was the assertion that our response to such issues is always intensely personal. There is no "right" emotional response to ANY situation - and if you understand me to be arguing that such is the case, then you are mistaken. I am not arguing that joy is the "right" response, and remorse "wrong" - I am arguing that the very process of salvation is complex and that each individual - according to their personal emotional make-up and their individual understanding of salvation - responds differently.

In that respect I am claiming only that joy is part of the mix. I recognize that other people's experience may differ but this is precisely what I would expect and has no bearing on the question at hand.

Again, I affirm, without any hesitation, that it is imbalanced to claim that the ONLY emotion that justifiably attends repentance is one of remorse.

I trust you will understand that this is not to claim that the ONLY emotion to justifiably attend repentance is one of joy.



dfsiemensjr wrote:
> Hi, Murray,
> You don't need to be so defensive. Recall that "godly sorrow produces
> repentance" (II Corinthians 7:10). However, it seems that with the young
> who grow up with faith from infancy, there is no (at least no remembered)
> emotion. It's encountered, but not emphasized, in Baptist circles.
> I further fear you have put Luke 15 on the rack. That heaven rejoices
> doesn't necessarily translate to my rejoicing at that time. I may be made
> aware of the cost of our redemption, which can overwhelm any of us. We
> rejoice in the knowledge that we are saved, of course. But we do not
> usually have a single emotion faced by multiple thoughts. I note that
> Paul tells me that I am already glorified (Romans 8:30), but he also
> speaks of our present suffering (v. 18). So right now I recognize the
> unalterable promise while I endure the fact that I now regularly visit
> four physicians. That I will have a redeemed body does not eliminate the
> current pains.
> Do you need to be reminded that there will even be tears among the
> redeemed (Revelation 7:17; 21:4)?
> Now you don't have to use one of your posts to reply to me. I merely
> wanted to twit you on an unusual matter of your not arguing precisely.
> Dave (ASA)

To unsubscribe, send a message to with
"unsubscribe asa" (no quotes) as the body of the message.
Received on Sun Oct 11 19:50:02 2009

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.8 : Sun Oct 11 2009 - 19:50:02 EDT