On the 'Campus Church' website they rightly tell you to believe on Jesus Christ. Their senior pastor Jeff Redlin rightly teaches to simply rest in Jesus to be saved (Hebrews 4:9-11). But Pastor Tim Zacharias errantly says you must repent to have a change of behavior to get to Heaven. These are NOT the same plan of salvation. Campus Church needs to make up their minds on God's plan of salvation. There are not two different Gospels. You either have to have a change of behavior to get to Heaven, or you don't, but it cannot be both. Respectfully, Dr. Zacharias teaches that repentance will lead to a change of behavior. That is not the Gospel.
Here is a quote from their website:
“We believe that salvation is a free gift of God for “whosoever will”; it is by grace, through faith, plus nothing, and believers are eternally secure (John 10:27–28, Eph. 2:8–10). Salvation is received only by personal faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and His finished work.”
“I need to be clear, there can be no salvation without repentance in the full moral sense. You need to be grieved about your sin. You need to come to a place where you understand the consequence of sin. You come under the condemnation and conviction of the law of God, and it causes you to change and to turn to Christ, and to call out to Him for salvation.” SOURCE
It loathes me when pastors do this, pressuring people to depart from a lifestyle of sin if they want to be saved. How then is eternal life still the free gift of God? Romans 6:23, “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” There are no toll booths to enter into God's Kingdom. All this talk about grieving over sin, changing one's behavior and repentance in the full moral sense is reformation, penitence and penance, not Bible repentance. Remember, God called the Gospel “the simplicity that is in Christ” (2nd Corinthians 11:3-4). There is nothing “simple” about all the stuff Pastor Zacharias said tonight at church. I have been saved for 41 years and I didn't understand some of what he was talking about, so how can a lost person or babe in Christ understand him?
What bothers me immensely is that nowhere in the entire Gospel of John are we taught this theological garbage. The Gospel of John simply tells us 85 times to “BELIEVE” to have eternal life. John 6:47, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life.” The Gospel of John is God's Gospel tract. 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.” That is so simple! How then does Pastor Zacharias come up with all this extra stuff? Repentance is automatic. When we witness the Gospel to a lost person, we simply need to make sure that they know they are a guilty sinner in God's sight. They need to know what they are being saved from.
Pastor Jack Hyles makes this truth very clear in this classic sermon titled: “Fundamentalist Heresy.” The Jack Hyles' camp have often been accused of running people through a quick-prayer “1-2-3, follow me” gimmick shallow type of salvation profession, just to count numbers and then brag to others. In the preceding sermon Dr. Hyles refutes those who would dare claim somebody as being saved, who hadn't been properly dealt with concerning sin and the Gospel. I am confident that this is what Pastor Zacharias was teaching, in his own words. Yet, as I sat there in church I cringed in my pew in back, as he made getting saved sound so challenging and difficult. Surely that is not the simplicity that is in Christ (2nd Corinthians 11:3-4).
I wrote a very kind and heartfelt letter to the senior pastor last night, almost in tears, but I don't know if he will respond. I simply explained what I just said, and asked him what is the Campus Church's official position on what a person must do to be saved. The Bible already answers the question in Acts 16:30b-31, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved? And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.” Did you see anything in there about grieving over your sins, repentance in the full moral sense, changing or behavior modification? I sure didn't, but maybe my glasses aren't working. You tell me.
Get mad at me if you want folks, but I believe in keeping things simple as God intended them. Why use big unbiblical phrases like “repentance in a full moral sense” which confuses people? It sure confuses me, and I'm already slow.
Dear friend, the only requirement for you to be saved is to simply come as a needy sinner to God, placing your childlike trust in His only begotten Son, receiving His sacrifice on the cross as payment for your sins. Pastor Zacharias makes the Gospel sound utterly complicated! Where does the Bible say all that junk? I fully agree that a person must admit they are a guilty sinner, so they will see their need for redemption in Christ (Romans 3:19-23; Galatians 3:24-26). But the way Pastor Zacharias explains it, it would scare a person! Where does the inspired King James Bible say we must “change” to be saved? It does not. Repentance is a change of mind unto the Gospel itself, not a profound willingness to reform, grieve, change and depart from sin. Oh why can't men just leave the Gospel alone?
I got saved when I was 13 years old. I did know that I was a sinner, and for the first time in my life I felt the conviction of the Holy Spirit. The church pastor said that Sunday morning, that if you don't have the indwelling Holy Spirit convicting you about sin you're not saved. I knew there and then that I wasn't saved. That morning from my pew, I called out to Jesus for the first time and asked Him to save me. I believed that Christ died on the cross for my sins, was buried, and resurrected three days later. I knew that.
I found out many years later that I could have just BELIEVED on Christ, without calling, and still been saved. We are saved by BELIEVING, even before we call. I didn't feel grieved over my sins. I didn't experience REPENTANCE IN A FULL MORAL SENSE. I wasn't a theologian back then, and thank God I'm still not a theologian today 41 years later! God deliver us from theologians!!! I just knew that I had been a bad boy! God saved me because I trusted Christ.
I think Evangelist John R. Rice (1895-1980) had the right idea about repentance and faith:
I couldn't agree more. The way you repent is by BELIEVING. Dr. Zacharias rightly teaches that sometimes in the Bible “repentance” is used as a euphemism (the substitution of an expression) for salvation. For example: Luke 5:32, “I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” That is essentially what Dr. Rice just explained. Jesus was calling them to salvation. The man who believes has repented! So why teach that a person can BELIEVE in the name of Jesus, but still be lost if they have never repented of their sins? It is IMPOSSIBLE to believe on Christ and still be lost. You may follow Jesus, or call Him “Lord” and not be saved (Matthew 7:21-23), but those who believe on Him as Savior are saved (Acts 16:30-31).There are those hyper-dispensationalists who think that John the Baptist preached a different Gospel from Christ when he commanded repentance (Matt. 3:2). But it is the same repentance Jesus commanded in Matthew 4:17, in Luke 13:3 and 5, and the same repentance that Paul preached in Athens that God “now commandeth all men every where to repent” (Acts 17:30 31). Repentance is not a different plan of salvation from having faith: it is part of the same plan of salvation. Or rather repentance is simply another way of describing or looking at the plan of salvation. One who turns from sin to God has done so by trusting in Jesus Christ. A change of mind toward sin is necessarily involved in saving faith. [emphasis added]SOURCE: Evangelist John R. Rice, “Acts: Filled With The Spirit,” pp. 251-252; Sword Of The Lord, Murfreesboro, Tennessee; ©1963
Now, in fairness to Dr. Zacharias, I think what he intends to teach is that you cannot merely add Jesus to your life in a positive sense, without realizing the negative aspect of one's sinnership and deserved penalty in Hell. You've got to know what you are being saved from. You must admit that you are a sinner to be saved (1st John 1:10). Pastor Jack Hyles preached a helpful sermon titled: “The Sin Question And The Son Question.” In this sense I fully agree with Pastor Zacharias, and he does cover this aspect of salvation in his Bible study.
Errant men added the extra meaning to repentance of “a change of behavior” ...
“Repentance is a change of mind resulting in a change of behavior.” SOURCEYou cannot show me anywhere in the Word of God where repentance for salvation is taught as a change of behavior, which would be works. I am contending for the faith once delivered unto the saints (Jude 1:3).
Dr. Zachariah also makes some confusing statements, such as:
“Not only do you need to understand that your works can't save you, but you need to repent of your dead works.”Bible repentance is a simple “change of mind” (metanoia), but Dr. Zacharias teaches repentance as a separate act in addition to faith. This is where he goes stray in his theology. Proof of this is his statement:
“If we don't include repentance in our Gospel presentation, then people are led to believe that they can simply add Jesus to their ungodly life.” SOURCEThe true Gospel always points you to Christ; a false gospel always points to you. Perhaps some readers may think I'm splitting hairs, but I don't think I am. If you listen to the entire Wednesday night Bible study by Pastor Tim Zacharias, he definitely POINTS TO YOU! His entire main emphasis is that you cannot merely come to Christ without YOU going through some kind of radical moral transformation, and that creeps me out theologically! Dear friend, you can come to Christ as an ungodly sinner and simply trust Him to be saved. Dr. Zacharias implies that your behavior must change, which is not the Gospel. His teachings are subtle, but off base Scripturally.
I agree with most of what Pastor Zacharias says, but he subtly requires repentance as a separate act from believing, which is not the Gospel. The man who believes has repented! Pastor Tim Zacharias adds repentance as a separate act from believing, which is inaccurate. I fully agree that a person cannot merely follow Jesus, or be saved without admitting that are a guilty sinner. If that is all that Pastor Zacharias was teaching, I wouldn't be writing this article. But he goes too far when he teaches that repentance is a change of mind that leads to a change of behavior. Modifying one's behavior is not a part of the Gospel.
I didn't want to email the senior pastor about this, but I need to know what the church's official position is. I've probably made enemies already, which is the last thing I wanted. So far no one has contacted me from the church. I didn't want to write this article, but as a believer I am commanded by God to “STAND” (Ephesians 6:13).
My online friend Aaron wrote to me today, asking how I'm doing. He has an internet radio ministry, with the motto: “Asking the Questions that Get You Kicked Out of Bible Study and Sent to Therapy.” My writings have caught his attention, because churches like to kick me out for asking too many questions...lol. I made the decision before I went to Campus Church not to cause any divisiveness there, and I won't. For now I have nowhere else to go. I love their church so far, I just got frustrated last night when I heard Dr. Zacharias saying that to be saved your behavior has to change.