Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The Anatomy Of The Gospel (Part 2)


I have quickly learned that saying I have the Gospel right and others have it wrong is offensive to many people. So for those who are offended by my claims I want to start by responding to the most common objections I hear.

1. Nobody is perfect, no one gets everything right.

No one is claiming that anybody is perfect. What I am claiming is that we can get the Gospel right, not the book of Revelation.

2. What makes you say that your opinion is right and theirs is wrong?

This has nothing to do with my opinion and everything to do with biblical truth. The issue is for you to test what I say against Scripture.

3. Ok so you get the Gospel right, but what about the power of God?

For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation (Romans 1:16).

I’ve heard people return from mission trips saying that “people got saved and there were miracles as well”. Conversion is the greatest miracle because God takes someone dead in sin and brings them to life by the power of His Holy Spirit. I’ll have a lot more to say about that in the coming posts. But for now consider these two passages of Scripture:

This man came to Jesus by night and said to him, "Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher come from God, for no one can do these signs that you do unless God is with him." Jesus answered him, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God." Nicodemus said to him, "How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother's womb and be born?" Jesus answered, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit (John 3:2-6).

I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses, and from all your idols I will cleanse you. And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules (Ezekiel 36:25-27).

Someone recently spoke to me about deliverance ministry and how it is possible to get the Gospel right and still be lacking in the spiritual warfare department. Bob De Waay had a deliverance ministry for many years and he finally arrived at the point where he concluded that the best form of deliverance ministry is pure Gospel preaching because that is what causes the Holy Spirit to start living where those demons once were.

4. Don’t criticize others they will answer to God.

It seems that the eleventh commandment has become “thou shalt not criticize” (or maybe tithing is the eleventh and this is the twelfth). This is simply not what the Bible teaches. It tells us in Romans 16:17 to mark false teachers who teach doctrine contrary to that we have learned. Ephesians 5:11 tells us to expose the works of darkness. Paul pronounces damnation on anyone who preaches any other gospel (Galatians 1:8-9). Many of the New Testament letters are responding to false teachers. Can a true shepherd ignore the work of wolves? We should be careful not to focus on minor issues but on major ones – especially the Gospel. We should come with an attitude desiring to honor God and warn those deceived. We should also carefully test all teaching against Scripture.

5. What authority does Cameron have to say this?

What authority is this really about? My opinion or what Scripture says. If what I teach is biblical then obey it. If it is false then mark me as a false teacher and warn people about me.

6. It is arrogant to say you know the truth.

This is the great deception of postmodernism. Whereas humility is about a low view of self they have redefined it to mean a low view of truth or certainty. One of the people who teaches this is that emergent heretic called Brian McLaren. Here is what McLaren says about certainty:

If I seem to show too little respect for your opinions or thought, be assured I have equal doubts about my own, and I don't mind if you think I'm wrong. I'm sure I am wrong about many things, although I'm not sure exactly which things I'm wrong about. I'm even sure I'm wrong about what I think I'm right about in at least some cases. So wherever you think I'm wrong, you could be right. If, in the process of determining that I'm wrong, you are stimulated to think more deeply and broadly, I hope that I will have somehow served you anyway. (A Generous Orthodoxy p19-20)

Is God the author of confusion? No – clearly that’s Brian McLaren’s job. Is it arrogant to say God is so kind that He made His plan of salvation so clear that even I can understand it and be sure about it? Or is it arrogant to say that no-one knows and everyone else has got it wrong? To claim to know the truth is an appeal to God’s kindness and not to any confidence in myself.

Ok Cameron, so what is the Gospel? In the coming days I will be going through what I call 5 Pillars of presenting the Gospel.


But prior to that, tomorrow, being Christmas day, will feature a Gospel presentation I have prepared for Christmas - a Christmas e-card if you like. Read through and see if you can spot those pillars.

Go On To Part 3
Go Back To Part 1

1 comment:

Greg Rice said...

Great post, Cameron. You hit the nail right on the head! Keep up the great work.