Index by Subject

Contending for the Faith: "The Four Gospels Are All We Need"

Larry, do you have any material or thoughts when one says that the 4 gospels are all we need, and that Paul was corrupt and did not preach what Jesus said?

First, though I understand what you mean, and often use the term myself, it is actually one gospel with four different records of it.

Second, if the four gospel accounts are all we need:

  1. Why did the Lord say that he that heareth you heareth me (Lk. 10:16)? More was to come to the apostles, for they could not grasp it all then (Jn. 16:12, 13). But why speak of that which would be revealed if the gospel accounts are all we need?
  2. Why did Jesus speak of some who would believe on him through their (the apostles’) word (Jn. 17:20)? Why speak of “their word,” which would be given later to them, if the gospel accounts are all we need (Jn. 16:7-14)?
  3. Why did Jesus speak of the apostles doing greater works than he had done (Jn. 14:12)? Since they did not do them during the gospel accounts, when did they do them and why, if the gospel accounts are all we need?
  4. Why did Jesus, in the gospel accounts, speak of the Holy Spirit convicting the world of sin, if they (the gospel accounts) alone are sufficient (Cf. Jn.7:37-39; 16:8; Acts 1:8; 2:4, 36-41)?
  5. Why did Jesus speak of the gospel being “preached in the whole world” (to Jew and Gentile) if the gospel accounts are all we need (Matt. 26:13–“whole world”)? This preaching of the gospel was not done prior to the great commission of Matthew 28:18-20; Mk. 16:15, 16; Lk. 24:46-49; Acts 1:8; 2:4). This preaching to the “whole world” was after Jesus’ death, burial, resurrection and ascension to the right hand of the Father (Acts 2:30-36). So, why did Jesus refer to it, IF the gospel accounts alone are sufficient?
  6. If Paul was corrupt and “did not preach what Jesus said,” so was the gospel which Peter preached, for they both spoke the same thing (dispensationalist doctrine to the contrary notwithstanding).
      (A) In Galatians 1:23, Paul said he now preached the gospel which he once opposed. What gospel did he once oppose (Acts 8:1-3; 9:1, 2)? He once opposed the gospel Peter preached, and that gospel was that of the resurrection of Christ (Acts 4:2, 33; 14:3). If Paul’s gospel “was corrupt,” so was Peter’s.

      (B) in 1 Corinthians 15:11, Paul said, “Therefore whether it were I or they, so we preach, and so ye believed.” As context clearly shows, “they” included Peter and the other apostles (15:5-11). It made no difference whether one heard Paul or Peter, true gospel faith and salvation resulted, no matter which one they heard. If Paul’s gospel was corrupt, so was Peter’s.

      (C) Paul worked the signs of an apostle (2 Cor. 12:12). The things he wrote were “the commandments of the Lord” (1 Cor. 14:37; Eph. 3:5). These were things delivered to the “holy apostles and prophets” (Cf. Eph. 3:3-5, 8-11; 2 Pet. 3:1, 2). Peter could do more than work “the signs of an apostle,” so if Paul’s teaching is “corrupt,” so is Peter’s.

  7. Where do we learn of local church organization, of elders and deacons? Certainly not in “the 4 gospels”!
  8. Where do we read of a church receiving funds to do its work? Again, not in “the 4 gospels”!
  9. Where do we see that the Lord’s supper is to be eaten “upon the first day of the week”? Do any of “the 4 gospels” speak of Christians partaking of it on that day?
  10. Where do we learn that Holy Spirit baptism, tongues speaking, and spiritual gifts have ceased? The gospel record of Mark ends with language which, without other testimony, particularly that given by Paul, sounds as though such miraculous works continue in perpetuity. How do we know they have ceased and that men are not being so led today without the testimony of Paul? (If one argues that Paul’s denial that such gifts continue is part of his corruption, it follows that if a person cannot work miracles and perform the signs, he is an unbeliever, according to the gospel records (Mk. 16:17-20). Will those who say “that the 4 gospels are all we need” accept that consequence?)

Third, those who make the charge that Paul “did not preach what Jesus said” need to offer proof of their charge. He did speak Jesus’ words and exhorted disciples to “remember the words of the Lord Jesus” (Acts 20:35). Further he said, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom” (Col. 3:16). He said that in Christ were hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge (Col. 2:3-8) These are strange words coming from a man who allegedly did not “preach what Jesus said.” So, what is there about Paul’s gospel that is deficient or corrupt? We need specifics, not general accusations.

    (A) If Paul’s word was “corrupt” why did Peter refer to it with approval (2 Pet. 3:16)?

    (B) If Paul’s word was corrupt, why did Peter, James, and John extend to him the right hand of fellowship (Gal. 2:7-9; Cf. Acts 15:12)? If Paul was corrupt, their acceptance of him would have made them partakers of his evil deeds and doctrines (2 John 9-11; Cf. 1 Jn. 4:1, 6; 2 Cor. 6:14-17; Gal. 1:6-9; 3:1-5; 5:7).

Be An Example … In Purity: Purity in Doctrine

Introduction

“Accustom your children constantly to this; if a thing happened at one window and they, when relating it, say that it happened at another, do not let it pass, but instantly check them; you do not know where deviation from truth will end.”

So wrote Samuel Johnson in 1778 concerning the absolute necessity of telling the unvarnished truth. The writer is concerned in this present article with examining the subject of relating the truth of God’s word, that is, teaching pure doctrine to the hearer. If we permit ourselves or an esteemed fellow traveler the right to a certain amount of unchastised impurity of doctrine, we invite a flood of apostasy to deluge us, for once the door of error has been made ajar, it becomes impossible to bar it again. Continue reading » Be An Example … In Purity: Purity in Doctrine

Solid Food: Proper Use of Text and Context

(The Apostle John and “Doctrine of Christ”)
(2 John 9-11)

This part of Watchman has been devoted to a study of difficult passages (“Solid Food”) recognizing that some passages are said by Peter to be “hard to understand” (2 Pet. 3:16). We are emphasizing that difficulty is not impossibility. Just as milk is for babes, meat is for mature adults and this process of growth is analogous to spiritual maturity. We are to “desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby” (1 Pet. 2:2). At the same time, we are be “no longer children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness by which they lie in wait to deceive, but, speaking truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head, Christ” (Eph. 4:14-15). Growing up in Christ means attaining a “measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ” (v. 13), that of a mature Christian who has gone on to “perfection.” Continue reading » Solid Food: Proper Use of Text and Context