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Is repentance in vogue?

Various things come into vogue at particular times in evangelical circles. I’m wondering if repentance has recently come into vogue, perhaps, more specifically, repentance by leaders.

Here are my considerations:

  • John Piper took a sabbatical, recognising ‘ongoing character flaws’ that he needed to take time out to work on.
  • CJ Mahaney has stepped down, related to reasons of pride (followed by Joshua Harris, though his reasons are less clear.)
  • Willow Creek confessed its failure to make disciples.
  • Mark Driscoll and Tim Keller have both spoken out about the unhelpfulness of their over-work when church planting.

In addition to that, the response from the evangelical community to their repentance has been pretty positive. Willow Creek’s Hybels was called courageous. The Driscolls thanked Piper for his fine example.

There is something admirable in such repentance. Firstly, it’s hardest to do when you’re in the spotlight and revered by others. Second, leaders’ demonstration of repentance may give prominence to it role in the Christian life. (Though I would argue that because repentance is part of the Christian life, things shouldn’t get to such a dramatic point.)

Do you think it’s a trend? What would be the significance of it if it was? What do you think of Christianity Today’s take?

Categories: Tanzanian culture Written by Tamie

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Tamie Davis

Tamie Davis is an Aussie living in Tanzania, writing at

1 reply

  1. Mate, i think you’re on to something here. I was talking about this exact issue with someone the other day. The question of how much need to be in the public sphere is also a consideration – public enough for the people the pastors are ministering to perhaps but now that everyone seems to have their favourite preacher as their local pastor this kind of thing suddenly becomes massive news and trendy perhaps. Not that i’ve got much of a point here but i too have noticed this ‘repentance in vogue’ thing too.

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