Does the Church teach two Gospels? Daniel Gregg
Also posted at Torahtimes.org
When the preacher says Christ died for our sin, what does it make you think? Does it make you think that he paid the penalty for sin so that the repentant might be forgiven? Or does it make you think one only needs to believe to be perfectly righteous in God's sight, and then one is saved on the basis of God's vision of righteousness?
Believe it or not, the Church teaches two gospels. One is a gospel of repentance and pardon, by which a man may be saved. The other is a gospel of acquittal and divine blindness to sin, which if swallowed whole leads to Hell. The good news of the pardon is Messiah's payment of the penalty, which is valid for those who repent. The false gospel is a gospel of legal philosophy that rejects the necessity of repentance at its very foundation.
Many Christians have taken the true gospel to heart. Many more, however, have taken the false gospel to heart. And most of those believing the true gospel are ignorant of the false Quisling Gospel (Quisling was a traitor and Nazi sympathizer) that has taken their Christian brothers to the Spiritual Death Camps.
What is an acquittal? An acquittal is when a judge finds the accused innocent of all crimes. The case of the defendant is dismissed for lack of incriminating evidence, and the accused is free to go. A pardon happens when the accused is found guilty, admits their guilt, and then the judge finds a merciful reason to let them go without punishment. It is expected that the pardoned will no longer commit the crimes of their former life.
If a judge acquits a guilty person, we call it a miscarriage of justice, or if the judge knows he is acquitting the guilty, a travesty of justice. If a judge pardons someone who repents, we say the judge is merciful and wise. If the judge pardons someone who he knows will keep committing crimes and has no intention to repent then we call it an abuse of leniency.
What I am saying is that the Church has suffered a spiritual holocaust or genocide ten times greater than that of the Nazi murder of the Jews. The gospel of acquittal has led most to believe that they have a righteous status in God's eyes, and that the meaning of the good news has to do with God dismissing his case against them on the discovery of righteousness in them or in their account. All they have to do is "believe" the message. When they understand the gospel this way, then they don't see the need for repentance. Therefore they have no true conversion.
It does not matter whether one is Catholic, Protestant, Anglican, Messianic, Baptist, Seventh Day Adventist, Seventh Day Baptist, or any other denomination. The same malady has infected them all. More Christians are going to perish in the lake of fire because they believed the false gospel which did not lead them to repentance than there are Jews who perished in the Holocaust.
So I will throw out a few barbs for discussion to illustrate the false gospel vs. the real one. It is said the cross teaches "justification by faith" which means being made righteous in God's sight or declared righteous. It doesn't really matter here whether one subscribes to the Catholic facet of the false gospel or the Lutheran/Calvinist nuance. Either way it teaches that "justified by faith" means becoming righteous in God's sight. Sounds like the magic wand of acquittal doesn't it? Well it is. God has no reason to consider anyone perfectly righteous when they are not actually perfectly righteous unless the reason for being of the doctrine is to issue an acquittal and declare the "believer" innocent!
It is time to stop this murder by legal lies that don't make any sense. In the Hellenistic/Koine Greek of Paul's day, the word "justified" from the Greek δικαιοω simply meant "justiced", in the sense of having justice done, or doing justice for someone, or pleading the case of justice. Alister McGrath admits this in Iustitia Dei. We also find the proper definition in Thayer at the end of the entry, and in BDAG (def. #1, though obscured). It is used in the sense of a penalty or punishment. Though a rarely used English word, the sense is "justiced". They hanged the crook and he was justiced. So then when Paul uses the word δικαιοω, he merely means that we are "justiced" in Messiah, i.e. he paid the penalty in our place. Therefore, it has nothing to do with the nonsense of "declared righteous" as the legal outcome of forgiveness of sins. We still have to repent in order to BE RIGHTEOUS, and in fact repentance is expected.
Second point, in Paul's conception "believe" meant "faithfulness/commitment". See the afore mentioned BDAG Lexicon (c. 2000, 3rd edition) on πιστις and πιστευω, def. #1 and #2 respectively. So the phrase "justified by faith" means "justiced by faithfulness" (cf. Rom. 5:1). Now before you get all het up and think I'm saying we are justiced by our faithfulness, listen a minute. Paul did not mean our faithfulness. He meant Messiah's faithfulness. We are "justiced by [Messiah's] faithfulness" to do the work of paying the penalty on the cross. This concept is no longer foreign to scholars as texts like Rom. 3:22 and Gal 2:16 have already been recognized as referring to the "faithfulness of Jesus Christ" and not to "faith in Jesus" Christ. So you see, Paul already defined it as Messiah's faithfulness by which we are justiced. How do you receive this? Make a commitment to be faithful to him, and you will be justiced in Messiah.
If you understand this, then you will know why Christianity is such a mess and is no longer the salt of the earth.