Errors of the Church of Christ (7)

6. Just what is the gospel that Paul preached (1 Cor 15:1-81 Cor 2:22 Cor 4:4-6Rom 1:16-17)? Do you preach the gospel Paul preached? Are you resolved to focus on preaching Christ crucified as Paul did, or do you preach yourselves and your works and another gospel?

RT- Perhaps the same set of questions ought to be asked of you; to answer your first question, however, I will point you to the passages I referenced earlier (Romans 15:18, etc). It is also interesting that you would refer to 2 Corinthians 4:4-6, and then ask your 3rd question, which demonstrates (to me) your adversarial approach in these questions. Do you have in mind something when you underscore the word “yourselves” in that question?  You have fallen into the trap Satan has set with this false distinction/delineation of the word “gospel” you picked up from the writings of man – something the New Testament does not sanction.

 7. Isn’t the gospel described in 1 Cor 15:1-38 as something that is past tense (Christ’s dying for our sins) rather than a list of things that we must do now? Were you redeemed by your acts of obedience or by the precious blood of Jesus Christ (1 Pet 1:18-19).

RT – What did Jesus preach in Luke 4:18. Perhaps you ought to look at the additional words Peter wrote in the same passage (1:22-23).

8. So what about the term obey the gospel (Rom 10:162 Thes 1:82 Pet 4:17)? The word for obey that Paul uses in the first two of these verses is the Greek word hupakouo, which is defined in Strong’s Concordance as “to hear under (as a subordinate), i.e. to listen attentively; by impl. to heed or conform to a command or authority—hearken, be obedient to, obey” (emphasis ours). Thus, the phrase is translated in some modern translations as “welcome the gospel” (or potentially harken the gospel or heed the gospel), or in the negative “refuse the gospel.” In other words, what Paul is saying here is something like a parent would say to a child, “You better listen up buster!” While there are implications of obedience, that is not the force of his statement. The force of the statement is to “pay attention.” Thus, we argue that this is yet another factor in favor of seeing obedience as a result of the gospel rather than the gospel itself. Does this new information change your thinking at all between the distinction between the gospel itself and obedience? Please read this short article and give us your response: Gospel.

RT – Well, you have built a straw man in your little discourse. Of course obedience is a result of hearing the gospel (good news) of Jesus proclaimed (Acts 18:12). There is a distinction between the two. This is why Garrett, Ketcherside, and Maxey are of no authority. If the force of the statement is to “pay attention,” is that a form of obedience?

9. Where in the Bible is “obeying the gospel” equated with being baptized?

RT – Since you have already built a straw man (and presumed to have torn it down), we might answer your question this way: there is no passage that says or implies as much, like there is no passage that equates believing only as “obeying the gospel.”   

10. Is it true that the CC teaches that the gospel was not preached before Pentecost? Do not these passages show that it was in fact preached before Pentecost: Mat 11:5Mark 1:14-15Luke 20:1Rev 14:6?

This distinction between gospel and doctrine, between gospel and obedience, is crucial and seems clear to most Christians except certain modern CC parties. The founders of the Restoration Movement certainly understood the distinction. And the founders of the Protestant Reformation clearly understood the difference as they insisted on a distinction between, as they put it, gospel and law. This helps us understand why Alexander Campbell taught that we should consider as brothers even those new Christians who may not fully understand all of the details of Christian doctrine, or indeed even those who may have legitimate disagreements as to interpretation—and even those who err out of weakness or misunderstanding as we all do. Thus, the basis of unity should be gospel, rather than doctrine. Ketcherside said, “This [distinction] does havoc to what many of us have been calling ‘gospel sermons.’ Campbell said that a clear, scriptural sermon on faith, repentance and baptism is not gospel preaching. It may of course be truth, and even related to the gospel, and yet not be the gospel.

RT – Given what you have said at the outset of this #10, how could “gospel” exist if it is a past event of the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ (your numbers 6 and 7 above)? I find it interesting that there is much effort expended at the distinction between gospel and doctrine, and yet you give no New Testament passage (or context) that demonstrates this. What distinction there is between “gospel” and “law” is made clear in a context.  If Ketcherside is your source of authority, then I suppose you can do any number of things. For your case to be sustained, you need to make it from the New Testament, not a man.