The gospel is no longer enough

This thinking pervades much of modern Christianity. It has infected and poisoned the thinking of evangelical, fundamentalist Churches and preachers. It is this concept that lies behind the widespread use of gimmickry to lure an audience to hear the gospel. The idea is to use ‘bait and switch’ tactics to appeal to the worldly and the ungodly by using activities or music that appeals to them and then while they are not aware, slip in ‘the gospel’ and hope they won’t notice! ‘Christian’ personalities, rock music, a casual or party atmosphere created for worship, are all bait used to catch the unsuspecting and supposedly reach them for Christ with the truth.

Such an approach to the gospel of Jesus Christ is worldly, sinful, a slander on Christ, and a gross disservice to the souls of men!

Error

To adopt ‘bait and switch’ tactics in dealing with the gospel is to go wrong on various important points. A consideration of Paul’s words in 1 Corinthians 1:21-24 will highlight these errors.

1. It is an error to think that man in his sinful condition can be appealed to by such attempts. Man by nature is a fool in God’s eyes. He lives in utter ignorance of God and His truth. Even the wisdom of the world- man at his best – is foolishness with God, v21! For this reason he rejects the gospel instinctively every time it is presented with all his being unless God regenerates him. Being dead in trespasses and sins the sinner is as completely proof against human influence spiritually as a corpse is to human appeal naturally. However, the ‘bait and switch’ approach is based on the fallacy that man’s opposition to the gospel is only superficial and can easily be bypassed or fooled into inaction by the clever use of the right lure.

2. It is an error to suppose that men have not always pressed for such modifications to the gospel. Paul encountered this very thing constantly, v22. The Jew demanded that God’s truth be enhanced and made appealing by the addition of signs and wonders. The Greek/Gentile audience insisted on the inclusion of the flourishes of the intellectual philosopher. In both instances they were simply insisting on the gospel being modified to appeal to their own particular interests! These approaches to worship and the gospel, while presented as thoroughly modern, are in fact not new at all! They can be traced right back to Cain’s wicked and failing attempts to modify God’s prescribed order of worship and gospel truth revealed in the sacrifice of the lamb. Any attempt to add or take from the gospel in an effort to fix its perceived deficiencies is but a revival of Cain’s ancient error and the errors of many misguided souls since. Today these things are still insisted upon, with the additional demand for worldly music, a party atmosphere etc. The fact that this is not a new phenomenon means we have ample Biblical data to guide us on how to deal with such pressure and the folly of accommodating it.

3. It is an error to think that there is a viable alternative to the preaching of Christ crucified according to the apostolic model. Even though he knew it would be unpopular and would in fact estrange certain sections of his audience, Paul had learned that there was no alternative to the preaching of the truth of Christ and His work of atonement as the only remedy for sin. No doubt Paul faced the argument that he could be so much more effective as an evangelist is he only made these concessions. But Paul knew that only this message, unadorned by the appealing additions that were lobbied for, became the power of God unto salvation. The gospel of Christ requires the power of God to make it effectual to salvation. Any attempt to modify the message is destined to forfeit that power and so render it ineffectual for the saving of the soul. To modify the gospel message so alters it as mean it no longer is the gospel of Christ but a wicked, soul-destroying parody of it. This is exactly what Paul had in mind when he warned: “For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him.” (2 Cor 11:4 AV) The Saviour made it clear that to tinker with the words of God rendered them impotent to any good. “Thus have ye made the commandment of God of none effect by your tradition.” (Matt 15:6 AV)

Conclusion

It is rank folly and a dereliction of duty to accommodate any desire to modify the gospel message, or the means by which God has appointed for its presentation to men, by dressing it up to appeal to the worldly minded. Any pressure to do so must be seen for what it really is: a worldly minded, carnal and devilish assault upon the truth of God. No matter where such pressure for change arises from this is what it is and it cannot be accommodated—but must be fiercely resisted—by any who would remain faithful to God and be an instrument of His power in the lives of men.

“Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men.” (Acts 5:29 AV)

8 thoughts on “The gospel is no longer enough

  1. I have read two articles so far (“The Gospel is No Longer Enough” and “The High Cost of Compromise”) and i agree 100 percent. I appreciate the scholarly approach and your adherance to the old standard. I have a blog page entitled “CrossWords” which can be linked at http://www.gmbckjv.com if you have time to stop by and visit. I have been pastoring for 5 years now and desire to preach the Gospel uncompromised and uncorrupted. Keep up the good work.

    Serving in Grace,
    Pastor Smith

  2. Richard R.Davis says:

    Dear Pastor Foster,
    Greetings again in His Name.
    I enjoy your sermons so much,because you preach the pure Gospel without compromise. This topic is very relevant today.So many “churches” resort to this kind of Arminian nonsense, thinking they can reason,or emotionally seduce,people into believing.I think of Jonathan Edward’s reading “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God” in monotone,as I’ve heard,and how people were brought to repentance and faith. No gimmicks,no pleadings,just the TRUTH. But,did not our Lord say,through St.Paul,that in the latter days people will be turned to fables,rather than sound doctrine?
    I thank God that He has put within the spirit of His Elect an intuitive sense that some things do not ring true to Scripture.
    In HIM,
    Richard

  3. Samuel Faith says:

    Still with the hate Ivan – hope you will find the true path one day Ivan, why can’t you forgive like big Ian has? You’d run after our LOrd with a placard too and shout “No” at him as well.

  4. I’m afraid you have the wrong Foster, Samuel! However, I am flattered that you recognize a similarity to my father’s protests against sin and compromise. I will take that as a compliment!

    Whatever example men may set, the word of God gives us no warrant to forgive those who defy Scripture until they have turned from their evil ways. So long as men – even misguided Christians – assault the gospel of Jesus Christ, God’s people must continue to take up a placard, as you put it, and say NO! This is not ‘hate’ but the evidence of a love for Christ, for truth and the souls of men. Nor is it done in opposition to Christ but at His command. See Hebrews 13:13.

  5. Hello Andrew, (if I may be permitted to still call you that), it’s been a while! Its good to know that you are still very much active in the work of the Lord. This is an excellent article! I commend you for it and trust that God will richly bless you for it and it as it is circulated. Long may you be permitted to continue to stand and battle for truth and righteousness in these days of apostacy in which we live!

  6. Hi Paul,
    Good to hear from you again after all these years. I trust all is well with you. Thank you for your kind comment on the article. I hope you enjoy the rest of the site. I have got behind a bit with updates as I have been busy preaching away from home quite a bit recently.

  7. Dear Sir, I have noticed that gospel preachers today find it very hard to face up to the truth of Gods word..When we read the Westminster Confession of Faith, and it states that ALL saints who die go immediately to heaven, however, when I read Acts 9:36-43, this is the inspired word of God related to us for our learning, and it states that Dorcas died, and according to the WCF, Dorcas went to heaven, but when the Apostle Peter arrived on the scene he raised her from the dead..Did Peter bring Dorcas back out of Heaven?..The same would apply to Lazarus of Bethany, who was dead for four days, and in the tomb, but when he was raised from the dead, was he brought back out of Heaven? The WCF states very clearly that ALL souls return immediately to God, and the souls of the righteous being made Perfect in holiness. What a shock it must have been for these dear saints, who were in Heaven, and to find themselves back on earth where they would sin again,after being made perfect in holiness, and then face death at a later stage in life..Not a single gospel preacher was able to offer a cogent reason, as to what was really happening here, they really did not want to face up to the teaching in the WCF, which is NOT inspired, however, I believe that the word of God is inspired, and it is the truth…I respectfully await your reply…

  8. The Westminster Confession of Faith states (Chap 32, Sect. 1):
    “The bodies of men, after death, return to dust, and see corruption; but their souls (which neither die nor sleep), having an immortal subsistence, immediately return to God who gave them. The souls of the righteous, being then made perfect in holiness, are received into the highest heavens, where they behold the face of God in light and glory, waiting for the full redemption of their bodies; and the souls of the wicked are cast into hell, where they remain in torments and utter darkness, reserved to the judgment of the great day. Besides these two places for souls separated from their bodies, the Scripture acknowledgeth none.”
    The WCF states Biblical truth succinctly and clearly. Bible clearly teaches that believers go immediately to be with Christ in glory. “Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise.” Luke 23:43. Paul could confidently state: We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord” 2 Cor 5:8.

    Your perceived problem arises from the fact that you think it strange that the souls of believers should be taken from Heaven to return to earth. You are interpreting Biblical truth on the basis of your own perceptions of what is appropriate for God to do! Yet this is exactly what happened to a few saints who were resurrected or appeared in glory on earth – like Moses and Elijah in the transfiguration. It also has been the experience of untold numbers of holy angels who have been used by God to minister to His people in various ways. For a time it pleased God for them to return to earth after the experience of heaven. There is nothing strange about this at all! It is exactly what Christ’s course was. The fact that God privileged a few of His servants to follow in the footsteps of Christ from the glorious perfection of heaven to a sin-cursed world must be seen as special favour on His part; allowing them to be more closely identified with Christ then is the experience of most other believers.

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