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In gospel proclamation today, the critical New Testament element of repentance can be far too often ignored, minimalised or dismissed. Yet John the Baptist, Jesus himself, and those he commissioned to spread his gospel all spoke of the urgent need to repent.
Michael Ovey was convinced that a gospel without repentance quickly distorts our view of God, ourselves and one another by undermining grace and ultimately leading to idolatry. Only when we grasp the need for true repentance as consisting of a real change -- a transforming work of the Spirit of God -- can we fully understand the gospel Jesus preached.
With care and clarity, Ovey focuses first on the relevant biblical material in Luke-Acts, examining who repents and who does not, and the characteristics of both groups. He surveys the ‘feasts of repentance’ of Jesus with Levi, the Pharisees, and Zaccheus, and in the parable of the Lost Son. He then moves to more systematic-theological aspects of repentance, in relation to idolatry and to salvation; and finally to pastoral theology in the corporate life of the people of God today, with regard to self-righteousness, hypocrisy, humility, forgiveness and justice.
Although in some sense this work is a focused biblical-theological study of the theme of repentance in Luke-Acts, grounded in word studies, thoughtful exegesis, and sensitivity to the narrative of this pair of biblical books, it is more than that. Dr Ovey moves beyond biblical theology to think through the meaning of repentance in both systematic categories and in pastoral theological reflection -- and we are all the better for it.