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A Gospel/Doctrine Distinction

(A Departure from the Divine Hermeneutics)

While the old Bible hermeneutics acknowledges that God communicated his will to man through explicit commands, approved examples and necessary implications, a new hermeneutics makes light of all three by establishing an imaginary distinction in scripture between gospel and doctrine.

Essentially, the gospel/doctrine distinction has historically held that the gospel consists of a very limited set of facts about Jesus which are preached to the lost and which they can believe to the saving of their souls. Doctrine, on the other hand, is taught those already saved by the gospel. It is the product of the epistles, which is then filtered down to modern men through cultural and theological biases, creating an individually held standard that must not be imposed upon those of a conflicting mindset. The gospel is never preached to the saved and doctrine is never taught the lost when this distinction is obeyed.

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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).

Doctrine-Gospel Distinction

Authors:  Bobby Holmes and Mark Roberts

I. Error

    • 1. “Gospel is the good news about Christ, and nothing more. Gospel cannot be preached to saints. None of the epistles are Gospel. We must agree on Gospel, but not on doctrine. Fellowship should be extended to all who accept the Gospel.”
      1. 1 Corinthians 15:1-4
  • A. Neo-Calvinists say:B. Passages misused:

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For the first time since the fifties and sixties, an effort is being made to destroy the Church of Christ. The “liberals” have referred to a movement among them, and those who are directing the movement, as “Change Artists.” In a very real sense, we have many among the conservative cause who are also “Change Artists.”

“Institutionalism” moved many of our brethren out. “They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they all are not of us” (1 John 2:19). This caused a split in the Lord’s church.

Following that conflict, it has been advocated: (1) “Accentuate the positive, and eliminate the negative,” (2) “Preach the man and not the plan,” (3) “Preach Christ, and not the church.” All of these efforts were for the purpose of erecting a “straw man,” so they would not have to deal with the arguments against the issue. Continue reading » Apostasy

Charts: Understanding Christ and the Church (Gospel and Doctrine)

Unity of the Spirit VS Unity in Diversity

1. Looking for a Perfect Church in an Imperfect World
Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43

But We Have:

    Perfect Head
    Perfect Revelation
    Perfect Law
    Perfect Foundation
    Perfect Plan of Salvation

That We May Become Perfect Continue reading » Charts: Understanding Christ and the Church (Gospel and Doctrine)

Understanding Christ and the Church (Gospel and Doctrine)

Unity of the Spirit VS Unity in Diversity

Outline of Lesson, December 6, 1998
Forest Hills church of Christ

Intro: “What God hath joined together, let no man put asunder” (Gen. 2; Mt. 19). While this has specific reference to marriage, there is an underlying principle that applies to anything God has seen fit to joint together. Man has no right to loose what God has bound (Mt. 16:19).

We can see this principle in the relationship of the Old Testament to the New Testament. Truth has been revealed through the ages by the same Spirit of God and it is one seamless depository of truth from Genesis to Revelation. Yet God has divided that truth and applied it as it suited His purpose (Heb. 1:1-3). The Jewish nation was bound to the Law of Moses, but all men are now loosed from it (Col. 2:14). We are taught to learn from it (Rom. 15:4) but it has no authority over us as does the law of Christ (Rom. 8:1-3). Continue reading » Understanding Christ and the Church (Gospel and Doctrine)

Solid Food: What Does It Mean to “Preach the Cross”?

One writer has referred to the instrument of Jesus’ death as “The Polished Mahogany Cross” (Bill Love, The Core Gospel, p. vii). He intended by this to emphasize that our generation does not see the cross as an instrument of torture as did the first century where it was the common instrument of Roman punishment for criminals. Consequently, that writer and others have concluded that our generation has failed to place the cross in its proper place in God’s grace, ignoring or unwittingly omitting the cross as an expression of God’s grace and the “drawing power” (John 12:32) of God unto salvation. In its place, we are accused, we have put an emphasis on doctrine, splitting the Bible into bits and pieces, placing theology and its study on a higher plane than that of the “core gospel.” The accusation is untrue and unfounded.

This “core gospel” has been the subject of much discussion. A British theologian of the Church of England by the name of C. H. Dodd (1930’s) has written extensively on the theory (an avowed modernist, he denied the inspiration of the Bible). His views have been carried into the mainstream of Protestant religious thought and, to one extent or another, into the thinking of some brethren. Carl Ketcherside, for one, accepted his definition of a “core gospel” and changed his religious views to accommodate it. Ketcherside was considered a maverick in his early preaching and writing days but lived long enough to see his views gain popularity. In Love’s book, this “core gospel” achieves a status of scholarship (in some circles). Continue reading » Solid Food: What Does It Mean to “Preach the Cross”?