WHAT IS "A DIFFERENT GOSPEL"?
In Galatians 1:6, Paul refers to a " different gospel ", which he says is a perversion of the gospel of Christ. There is another similar reference, in 2 Corinthians 11:4, to a "different gospel" which was causing problems in the Church in that city.
We are left in no doubt about Paul's condemnation, both of the "different gospel", and those who embrace and propagate it! He said, twice over, "let him be accursed".
These are strong words! They contain a serious warning about the consequences of embracing such a gospel, which in reality, is not good news at all !
Can we identify what Paul means by his use of the term? Are there "different gospels" in the Church today?
The term is almost self explanatory! A "different gospel" is not the same as the Real Gospel!
Of course, to some that may sound rather trite, but it does need to be said!
A "different gospel" claims to offer Good News, BUT it is different Good News, which in the final analysis, is NOT good news at all!
It is not good news because it does not, and cannot, ever deliver what is promised.
The particular false gospel, about which Paul speaks in Galatians, appears to be one which sought to impose circumcision as an " extra" condition of salvation.
That which was found in Corinth, is less clearly identified and much more complex, but we are not left without "clues".
For instance, Paul found it necessary to address the problem of those who denied the Resurrection, Those who did not believe in the Resurrection, were, he said, without hope and still in their sins. That means they were unconverted and unforgiven!
That same false gospel still exists in our day. We still find many who either deny the physical resurrection altogether, or who pay only lip service to it, substituting instead, the false expectation of Heaven for immortal souls, as the real hope offered by their "good news".
Surely that must fall into the same category as the problem which existed in Corinth
Another element of that Corinthian "other gospel" must surely be the problem of false Pentecostal gifts , which existed in the Church at Corinth. Their unbalanced emphasis on the place of "spirit gifts", especially the "gift of tongues", is exactly parallelled by the claims of many modern Pentecostals that no one is saved, and no one has received the Holy Spirit, until they speak in tongues as evidence of their "spirit baptism".
It is also significant that amongst the other problems at Corinth, there was carnality and gross immorality.
None of this should surprise us. These things are the inevitable fruit of a false gospel. Only the True Gospel has the power to deliver lost mankind from their sins, and from all the other strong delusions which they suffer as a consequence of their lack of love for truth. (2 Thess 2:10-12)
A SIMPLE DEFINITION
For our purpose, the simplest definition of a false gospel is one which uses the name of Jesus, but not his words !
A false gospel will be about a Jesus who has a different identity.
A false gospel will offer a false hope for the future, based on different promises.
A false gospel will call its hearers to an inadequate repentance, offering a false expectation of forgiveness.
A false gospel will reject the Gospel call for obedience, allowing people to continue in their sins. (sometimes selectively!)
A false gospel will offer a false sense of security by changing the meaning of Grace and Faith, (often rejecting Works as mere "legalism")
THINGS TO REMEMBER ABOUT THE GOSPEL
The concise definition of the real gospel is that preached by Philip ..... "good news about the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ," ...... to which an adequate response was - "they were baptised, both men and women".
It was Jesus Himself who addressed His Father as the one true God. (John 17:3)
In this prayer to God, Jesus left us in no doubt that He Himself is not the one true God! He is the completely human Son of the one true God.
If Jesus is not the one true God, then neither is He any part of a Triune God (the Trinity) Nor can He possibly be the confused "role player" of the "Jesus Only" God.). Nor, if He is truly a man, can He be the Arian pre-existent spirit.
Any Gospel which labels us as heretics, when we reject those impossible "mysteries", is false .
The Gospel Preached To Abraham.
The hope of the Gospel is contained in God's covenant with Abraham, "that they should inherit the world". (Romans 4:13) The resurrection is implicit in that hope.
Inheritance of the promises requires a belief in that Gospel ..... and baptism into Christ. (Mark 16:15-16 & Galatians 3:27-29).
Any "gospel" which does not offer the future Kingdom of God on Earth and an inheritance of God's promises to Abraham, in a resurrected immortal body, is NOT the Gospel preached by the Apostles in obedience to the commission given them by Jesus!
The Gospel And Baptism
Any Gospel which substitutes the baptism of unbelieving infants, in place of the real baptism, received in response to belief in a real gospel, is NOT the Gospel of the New Testament.
Any gospel which offers forgiveness of sins without a real "believers baptism", without an adequate definition of sin, and which comes with an equally inadequate definition of the good works to which faith calls us, is also a false gospel.
(How else can we be convicted of sin if we do not know what is sin? And how else shall we bring forth works "worthy of our repentance", Acts 26:20, if we do not know what those works are?)
The Gospel And Works
Any gospel which ignores, or explains away, or justifies and encourages disobedience to the plain teaching of Jesus in Sermon On The Mount, is no gospel at all.
Any gospel which rejects as mere legalism, our insistence on those works as the visible token of a living faith, is a false gospel and a dead faith. Paul says quite definitely that at the resurrection, it is our works which will form the basis of our Judgement!
This is NOT a complete treatise on the subject of saving faith!
Our goal has been to identify just some of the common "other gospels" which ought to have no place, or recognition, or fellowship, amongst those who share the "Faith of Abraham" which was "once delivered to the saints". (Jude v3)
We may not dismiss these differences as "not important", by seeking recognition from, or co-operation with, those who preach "other Gospels".
No lie is of the truth. Some of the things discussed above are certainly lies! They are lies which Jesus did not tell, and never would condone .
They are lies, which he will not confirm in the preaching of those who use His name, but not His words ! (Mark 16:20)
They are lies,
which lead to deception and strong delusion ..... and rejection by Jesus
on the day of Judgement.