Monday, December 29, 2008


If you were to go back in time and ask the early Christians, "What is the Gospel?", what do you suppose their answer would be? One need not be a theologian to comprehend what the Biblical answer to this question is however, I'm surprised how often I hear or read a different definition of what the Gospel is these days. What is going on?

The Gospel:

The good news of God reconciling the world to Himself in and through the person and work of Jesus Christ who died for our sins and rose again.
1 Corinthians 15: 1-4
John 14: 6

Seems simple enough to understand and yet, there are all sorts of variations floating around today. Apparently it's not enough that Christ died for our sins; we must also add good works and compassion to the definition. Is feeding the hungry also the Gospel? Is building a home for the homeless sharing the Gospel? Promoting world peace, solving the AIDS crisis... are these all part of the Gospel?

Welcome to the Social Gospel.

If we do good things for people, they'll get saved. They'll see us being compassionate and recognize their sinful condition and need for a Savior. No need to preach to them (Romans 10:14-15). No need to share with them the reason they need to be saved. Just love them. Is that REALLY love?

Don't get me wrong. As a follower of Christ, we SHOULD be demonstrating compassion by helping the poor, feeding the hungry and loving others as Christ did. These are the effects of the Gospel (not the Gospel itself). This is the 'fruit' of our conversion. However, the message we should be sharing with the world is first and foremost Christ and the Cross. Jesus spoke very clearly about who He was, why He came and what He required of us. Yes, He demonstrated love & compassion through His miraculous healing's. yes, He taught us to love one another as we love ourselves. But the underlying message He preached was WHY He came. This message continued with His disciples. Christ spoke and many were saved (John 8: 28-30). The disciples preached the Gospel and many were saved (Acts 14: 21, Acts 5:42).

Contrary to what some think, there is only one Gospel. Not the Gospel of Jesus and the Gospel of Paul. Only one. Only through Christ's death and resurrection is righteousness imputed to the believer. Only because of God's grace are people saved from their sins; through repentance and faith. Each and every Follower of Christ should be sharing the good news of the Gospel (Mark 16:15).

Scripture warns us to avoid any other Gospel...

"But I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent's cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ. For if someone comes to you and preaches a Jesus other than the Jesus we preached, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it easily enough." ~ II Corinthians 11: 3-4

"I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you by the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned! As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let him be eternally condemned!" ~ Galatians 1: 6-9

“If you believe what you like in the gospels, and reject what you don’t like, it is not the gospel you believe, but yourself.” ~ Saint Augustine

"Avoid a sugared gospel as you would shun sugar of lead. Seek the gospel which rips up and tears and cuts and wounds and hacks and even kills, for that is the gospel that makes alive again. And when you have found it, give good heed to it. Let it enter into your inmost being. As the rain soaks into the ground, so pray the Lord to let his gospel soak into your soul."~ C.H. Spurgeon

“The church is the fruit of the gospel.” ~ Hywel R. Jones


Friday, December 26, 2008


What is the purpose of church? What is the Gospel?

What does it mean to be a Christian? How does one get to Heaven?

In this day and age of relativism, post-modernism and the emerging church movement, there seems to be more 'diversity' in the answers most people give to the above questions. Outside the church, the world views Christianity as just another radical, legalistic, judgemental religion. Inside the church, there are extremes... ultra-fundamentalists who condemn without loving. They isolate themselves instead of insulate themselves. On the other end of the pendulum, you have the emerging church looking, acting and sounding like the world in order to be relevant. Bible thumper -vs- Bible changer.

Who's right? What is the Biblical model for "doing church?" What is the primary role of a Follower of Christ today?


Quite simply, I believe the Gospel is the message of Christ's purpose here on earth (I Cor. 15: 1-4). To seek and to save those who are lost (Luke 19: 1-10). To spread the good news of salvation to the world (Mark 16: 15-16). I think one of the problems in so many churches today is that the focus is more on the EFFECTS of the Gospel rather than on the Gospel itself. The Bible is filled with what it means to be a Christian, how to become one and what we are to do but, the primary theme from Genesis to Revelation is God's glory being revealed through Christ and the redemption of mankind through the Cross.


The Gospel message. The heart of this message is "repent and trust" however, the entire BIBLE should be preached with a focus on the Gospel because THAT is exactly what God has revealed throughout the OT and NT. Everything points to Christ therefore, shouldn't the passion and purpose of the local church be to point to the Gospel in every message they teach?

((Paul Washer... "The True Gospel"))

There seems to be more of an emphasis on drawing people into church rather than teaching the Gospel. More emphasis on programs, marketing, seeker-sensitive, purpose-driven, How to improve your____, topical, feel-good, experience-centered messages rather than THE message that Christ lived & died for.

Quite honestly, I think there is more attention put on DOING GOOD than there is in on teaching what salvation is all about. More focus on compassion than evangelism. More focus on being the hands & feet of Jesus rather than spreading the Gospel message. More focus on teaching people to help the poor, feed the hungry and love the unloved -vs- teaching them about WHY Christ came in the first place.

Very little is said about sin, God's wrath (John 3: 35-36), the depravity of man, hell, repentance and what it really means to trust Christ. Seriously, do most seekers really understand what the popular church-lingo REALLY means?

"Cross the line of faith", "Ask Jesus into your heart", "Accept Jesus into your heart", "Ask Jesus to be your forever friend"... etc, etc.

Where in the Bible does it even say these things? Are churches clearly teaching what it means to be saved? Saved from WHAT? If most people consider themselves to be "good", why do they need to be saved? In the average church today, the typical Sunday message (or 'experience') says nothing about what it takes to become born again. Maybe at the very end (somewhere just before or after the offering), there is a brief reference... "If you don't know where you are on your faith journey, or if you have not crossed the line of faith or asked Jesus into your heart, you can do so by saying this simple prayer..."

That's it??? God sends His Son to die on a Cross for the sins of all mankind and the best we can do is offer a 1 minute infomercial??

And we wonder why the results of so many MEGA-church 'reveal' studies, surveys & polls show that many people who regularly attend church don't even believe or accept the basic tenants of the Christian faith. Because the Preacher (Shepherd) is not teaching the Word (feeding the sheep... John 21: 15-17)!!! They're preaching feel-good messages to entice people to come to church. Bait & Switch. Lure them in with catchy 'relevant' promotions ("How to have a better sex life"), tell them that God has a plan for them and that Jesus loves them. Then what? They say a simple prayer and suddenly they're 'in'?

It seems there MUST be a middle ground in how we do church. I agree that the old, fundamentalist approach may not have been the perfect Biblical model for church however, we now have the opposite extreme taking place. Instead of being consumed with the latest fad or technique for 'doing church', what if churches simply followed the Biblical method for sharing the Gospel.... just preach the Word and let the Holy Spirit do the rest (Romans 10: 14-21).


Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Dangers of the Emergent Church

"Beloved, while I was making every effort to write you about our common salvation, I felt the necessity to write to you appealing that you contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all handed down to the saints.For certain persons have crept in UNNOTICED, those who were long beforehand marked out for this condemnation, ungodly persons who turn the grace of our God into licentiousness and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ." ~ Jude 3 - 4