The truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ is being threatened—and not by of some “outside” influence, but threatened by some within the church. This threat, as will be seen in subsequent articles, is oftentimes not even recognized by those who engage in such activity as being a threat. Instead, they sincerely see their “logic” as being true. However, their logic proves to be false when scrutinized through the lens of Scripture.
This is the first in a series of articles springing from the letter the Apostle Paul wrote to the Galatian churches:
…to them we did not yield in submission even for a moment, so that the truth of the gospel might be preserved for you. (Galatians 2:5, ESV)
But when I saw that their conduct was not in step with the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas before them all, “If you, though a Jew, live like a Gentile and not like a Jew, how can you force the Gentiles to live like Jews?” (Galatians 2:14, ESV)
Twice, Paul talks about the truth of the gospel, which tells us that the preservation of that truth was extremely important to God.
Paul’s letter to these churches that were spread out across the region know as Galatia resulted from three things:
1. The activity among the believers in Galatia by the so called Judaizers, and
2. The abandonment of the true gospel as a result of the work of the Judaizers, and
3. The false accusations made against the Apostle Paul by those who were antagonistic toward him.
Just as it was important in Paul’s day to actively stand against that which might threaten the truth of the gospel, so it is today, because nothing has changed when it comes to “the present evil age” (Galatians 1:4) in which Paul lived and in which we live. Not only are we faced today with the non-Christian cults and their messages, but the true church is also faced with threats “from within”. These people are variously described in Scripture as those who “troubled you with words, unsettling your minds” (Acts 15:24), those who present “danger from false brothers” (2 Corinthians 11:26), and “those who unsettle you” (Galatians 5:12).
Those who unsettle some in the church may very well be “well intentioned”, but the problem with that is that the road to hell is paved with good intentions. Good intentions do not make for good theology. Good intentions do not make for solid doctrine.
It must be recognized that part of the problem—these good intentions—result from the inability of those who present such "good intentions" to follow the logic of the Scriptures because they are derailed by emotion—emotion, for example, resulting from a sincere desire to believe loved ones are truly saved. Those who allow themselves to be driven by emotion, those who are well-intentioned, end up providing a false assurance of salvation to people they talk to. That is dangerous.
Then there are those who claim Christianity, who do not hold to a Biblical view of salvation, but instead allow salvation to be a very man-centered thing. How? They do this by adding to the true gospel of Jesus Christ, and, in doing so, completely negate the effects of the atoning sacrifice of Christ for themselves.
Finally, there are those who advocate an “easy-believism”, saying, “all you need to do is acknowledge that Jesus died for your sins and you will be saved”. Of course, because that statement contains some truth, many will believe it. However, a statement that only contains “some” truth—even if that “truth” accounts for 99% of the statement—the remaining 1% that is not truth renders the entire statement false.
This series of articles will not address the attacks from without, but the dangers from within, as described above, with a view toward Preserving the Truth of the Gospel.