Jesse Morrell's misrepresentation of Matt Slick on repentance

by Matt Slick
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After a recent debate with Jesse Morrell on August 8, 2017, he has repeatedly posted on Facebook misrepresentations of what I have said in our debate by not including my clarification of what I meant by what I said. Therefore, by doing so, he has intentionally misrepresented me, which is bearing false witness. Since Jesse Morrell says that he doesn't sin anymore, I find this problematic considering Exodus 20:16 which commands us to not bear false witness.  Here is an excerpt from our debate that Jesse Morrell has posted1.  It is only part of the whole conversation and does not include my clarification.  Therefore, it is a misrepresentation of what I said. 

Jesse Morrell, “I do believe you have to forsake your sins to be saved.”
Matt Slick, “Nope!”
Jesse Morrell, “But unbelief is a sin.”
Matt Slick, “Nope! Nope!”
Jesse Morrell, “Is unbelief a sin?”
Matt Slick, “Unbelief is a sin.”
Jesse Morrell, “Yeah, unbelief is a sin. Do you need to repent of unbelief to be saved?”
Matt Slick, “No.”

From that snippet you might think that I'm preaching antinomianism, saying that it's okay to sin, or that we don't have to stop sinning. That is not what I'm saying.   That is not what I was saying and him taking only that snippet to represent the whole argument is wrong.

In the context of our discussion, Jesse Morrell teaches that a person can comply with the Law (and stop sinning) and that salvation is the result of his free will choice to believe in God. My belief is that our free will choice is enabled by God through his regenerative work in us (John 6:28-29; Philippians 1:29; John 1:13; 1 Pet. 1:3). We still freely choose to believe in God, and we still freely choose to repent of our sin, but these are the result of being regenerate.

Repentance is necessary to be a Christian, but not to become a Christian because repentance is the result of being a Christian, not the cause of being a Christian.

I am saying that when repentance is defined as following the Law (which is what I clarified to him several times in which he excluded in his quote), then repentance does not save us.  Following the Law does not save us. God saves us. And, because he saves us, we are then enabled to follow the Law.  So, our salvation is not caused by our following the Law (repentance).  Instead, our ability to follow the Law, including repentance, is the result of God's regenerative work in us. So when I say that a person does not need to forsake his sin in order to be saved, what I mean is he does not need to keep the Law in order to become a Christian. Furthermore, I teach we must forsake our sin as Christians. But forsaking our sins is not what makes us Christians.  It is the result of being a Christian. What makes us Christian is faith in Christ.

Let me summarize my position, point by point, which I clarified to him several times in our debate and on follow-up posts on the YouTube video2, which he has apparently, chosen to ignore.

  1. Sin is breaking the moral Law of God.
  2. Repentance, (forsaking sin), is turning from sin to righteousness.
  3. To repent from sin means to follow the moral Law such as is found in the Ten Commandments (Exo. 20:1-17)
  4. Repentance of sin, which means to turn from not obeying the Law to obeying the Law, does not save us because by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified (Rom. 3:20, 28)
  5. Repentance (forsaking sin) is not what makes us a Christian. 
  6. But, if we are Christian, then we ought to forsake our sin and we will forsake our sin.
  7. Repentance (forsaking sin) is not the cause of our regeneration and therefore being a Christian.
  8. Repentance (forsaking sin) is the result of our regeneration and therefore being a Christian.
  9. Romans 3:28, says that we are justified apart from the works of the Law.
  10. Instead, it is faith that justifies us (Rom. 5:1; Eph. 2:8-9), not our keeping the Law via repentance.
  11. Faith is granted to us by God (Phil. 1:29; John 6:28-29).
  12. Repentance is also granted to us by God (2 Timothy 2:25).
  13. When God regenerates us (John 1:13; 1 Pet. 1:3), we are then enabled to repent of our sin and believe in him because we are made new creatures (2 Cor. 5:17; John 3:3-8).
  14. Therefore, we forsake our sins because we are Christian.
  15. We do not forsake our sins to become a Christian.
  16. Therefore, as Christians we ought to forsake our sin.

I hope this is clear. As I stated to Jesse several times, when repentance is defined as compliance with the Law, then we do not need to repent (comply with the Law) in order to become Christians. That is what I was saying.  That is what I clarified.  And, that is what Jesse Morrell is ignoring.

Regeneration Precedes Faith

My position is that regeneration precedes faith. Let me illustrate what I mean.

In a light bulb, electricity must be in place in order for light to occur. But, it is not true that light must in place in order for electricity to occur. The light is the result of the electricity, not the other way around. Therefore, the electricity is logically first, but not temporally first, because when the electricity is present, light is the necessary and simultaneous result. Likewise, regeneration must be in place in order for believing to occur. When regeneration is in place, faith is the necessary and simultaneous result. So I would say that the person must believe and repent in order to be a Christian, not become one since repentance doesn't cause our regeneration. A true Christian has the manifestation of repentance and belief because regeneration is already there within him which results in faith and repentance. But it is not repentance and belief that causes us to be regenerated and therefore Christians.


Jesse Morrell is bearing false witness against me by misrepresenting my position when he does not give the full context of my statements nor provide the clarifying explanation which I gave during our debate and also in the follow-up posts on the YouTube channel.

What is Jesse Morrell to do? He must repent. And, by his own words, he is lost to salvation




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About The Author

Matt Slick is the President and Founder of the Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry.