What Isn’t the Gospel?

I don’t want to draw to a close the comments in the previous post (Lacey, you’ve read all kinds of my declarations of the gospel in this goofy old blog!), but whether you’ve contributed already or not, I’d like you to feel free to go another direction:

What isn’t the gospel?

What are the things that no one in his or her right mind and heart would be likely to put in the comments of the previous blog post as the gospel according to them; the good news of scripture; the core message of God’s Word to man?

Tonight, a young man from my church has found out that his spinal cord was severed in the dirt bike accident he had last weekend.

That is not the gospel.

Yet his church family continues to pray for and over this young man; will conduct a blood drive Sunday in his behalf; and some will fast and some will attend his bedside and some will plead with God on their knees, not knowing him well but loving him as if there were an empty place at their kitchen table that only he could fill.


Yesterday, I spent the day hearing a case with eleven fellow jurors against the mother of two toddlers and deciding that she was guilty of five of the seven counts against her, two of which involved the endangerment of their lives.

That is not the gospel.

Yet we deliberated long and contentiously, trying to find the benefit of the doubt, because it was obvious that she was not the primary culprit behind the evil that had taken place at her house, and that she had tried to take ineffective steps to protect them. One godly older gentleman not of her race, serving on a jury for the first time, begged on her behalf for us to try to see her life from her point of view at each charge. And at each charge and specification, we tried to gently persuade him of the overwhelming nature of the evidence and testimony. It was difficult for him to vote unanimously with us, for at heart he still felt that those children needed their mother and she needed to be with them.


I’m convinced that it’s because there is a gospel, a Story unlike any other, a Word of God that gives meaning and purpose and direction to life itself, and that word is love.

Love that powerful and undiluted can temper even the fearsome justice and righteousness of God Himself. Unlimited love is a frightening thing to the faint-of-heart but the bold-of-brain; to those who fear the Lord but are afraid to love the God who is love, cowards and bullies and experts and self-appointed prophets and correctors and straightener-outers who have tried their damnedest to dilute that love with a lot of other things and then bottle it up and sell it as the gospel truth. They’ve been around for a long time, from the first moment that God dared to show His love for mankind until now.

So defy those impostors. Be bold. Be brave. Be specific.

Tell me about the diluting ingredients that have never been and cannot be the gospel.

15 thoughts on “What Isn’t the Gospel?

  1. I’m sorry, Keith. As I read this blog through blurred, tear-filled eyes, I just don’t have it in me tonight to go in that direction…I’ve had enough bad news for the evening. <>“…those who fear the Lord but are afraid to love the God who is love…”<>It can be scary to love the God who is love…to do so requires <>TRUST<>. It requires of us the same type of reaction to the things that we don’t understand as I witnessed tonight from the father of that young man. We were standing in front of the elevators, waiting to go down to the chapel to petition God on his behalf, when the doctor came out of surgery w/the news. His dad said, “I think we need to go and pray; we need to praise God and <>thank<> Him that we still have him with us.”It requires of us a trust and a faith that says, “God can see better than us,” and, “I <>know<> there is going to be something good to come out of all of this. I don’t know what it is yet, but I <>KNOW<> it,” and, “We are concerned with the physical and the things that we want physically, but God is concerned with the spiritual,” and, “Lord, even though it’s hard to comprehend, we know that you love him more than we do,” and finally, “Lord, we don’t know why all of this has happened…but <>we know that we love you.<>“It’s that kind of trust and faith that allow us to have that love relationship with the God who is love.And anything else never has been and cannot be <>the gospel.<>

  2. I am so sorry to hear of this young man’s plight. We will lift him in prayer to the Father as well.My first and foremost thought of what is not the gospel is the idea that every word in scripture is gospel. This is fairly new thinking to me. It has caused me to realize that every word in scripture is not gospel. I read something the other day that stated that God inspired the writers of the scriptures, not the scriptures themselves. This puts a whole new spin on everything I have based my faith on — all my life. It gives new meaning to how I respond to God. It allows me to agree with mmlace and say that I can trust God and instead of asking, “why me, Lord?” I can ask, “Why not me, Lord?”

  3. sorry I missed chiming in earlier…The Gospel is not five clean and easy steps that ends in baptism and earns us a right to be a Christian.The Gospel is not something one group has a better handle on than another.The Gospel should NOT be a point of division.

  4. one thing that is NOT the gospel is “your not good enough” “your not worth God’s love or time or effort” “That God is a long way off”Galatians 1 makes what the gospel is VERY important…because to add to it …not good.

  5. Keith, there are many things in the bible which start out as Gospel, then after misinterpretation become anything but the gospel. Example.I recently read a blog (a coc preacher’s blog) that said the following verse proved conclusively that Jesus was “God the Father” in human form, the one true God.1Jn:5:20: And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life.What I believe is NOT gospel is; that Jesus was sent to earth to elevate himself to the level of God the Father. To make himself equal to the creator.

  6. Well, Laymond, I don’t fully comprehend all the ramifications of the Godhead, but I DO believe the relationship of Jesus and the Father is a significant part of the gospel; the good news for us.Jesus Himself said in < HREF="http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=John%2014:8-14;&version=31;" REL="nofollow">John 14:8-14<> that whoever had seen Him had seen the Father and that once He had gone to the Father “You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.”Now that’s <>really<> good news!

  7. Keith, that is good news, but the “BAD” news is the misintreptation of the “GOOD NEWS”We might want to look at the story of Satan and why he was cast out of Heaven.I could be wrong but I believe he only wanted to be “equal”

  8. The gospel is not a relegious system, even if it was concocted by coC folks. The gospel is not that Christ came to give us one more chance to make it. The gospel is not the church of Christ. The gospel is not “doing right” or “being right”. The gospel is “being set right” by God on the merits of Jesus.My friend Laymond… You just don’t get it. There is no good news if there is no bodily resurrection and if Jesus was not co-equal with the Father as He specifically claimed. I know it is quite common in our fellowship for folks to get confused about the deity of Jesus. Make no mistake about it, Jesus was, and now is GOD. He is the I AM.His peace,Royce

  9. Keith please excuse me while I respond to Brother Royce and his accusation against me.Lets look at what Jesus said in places where it is even hard for Royce to misintrepret.“O my Father, if this cup may not pass away from me, except I drink it, THY WILL be done.”Then said he, “Lo, I come to do THY WILL, O God.”“Thy kingdom come. THY WILL be done, as in heaven, so in earth.”It is plain to me who is “commander in chief” , and who bows to WHO’s WILL. In Heaven as well as on earth.Now lets look at what Jesus said about the Holy Spirit.“And I will pray the Father, and HE shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever;”“the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.”“But when the Comforter is come, whom I WILL SEND unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify OF ME”It is plain to me, who the field general is also. “Equal standing” is this what you get from this?

  10. Keith, I suppose we all will have to figure out what we believe, and understand as the Gospel, but I believe just such (gospel) as equal gods and that Jesus was really God the Father, is the very reason church attendance is falling, I have had more than one young person ask why would anyone follow Jesus if he was really “GOD” pretending to be someone else, and praying to himself. In other words fooling those who he was to edify.I don’t believe Jesus came to confuse, we were already confused. You ask the older people this(equal gods) and they are dumbfounded that anyone would even ask that question.

  11. Laymond, questions like these become less and less of a stumbling block for me as I get older and realize that I am never going to fully comprehend the magnitude of God’s personality in this life – and maybe not even in the next!I can understand that two people can be equals, yet one is subordinate to the other; I think it’s man’s teaching that subordination makes one person greater than the other.There is a point at which Jesus reigns at the right hand of God. Paul tells Timothy that those who endure will reign with Him, and the Revelation to John talks about those who experience the first resurrection reign with Him for a thousand years (20:4) and, later, His servants will reign for ever and ever (22:5). In John 10:34-36, Jesus quotes scripture that indicates those to whom the word of God came he calls ‘gods.’Now, I don’t believe that will make us equal to God. We would still be subordinate to Him, as well as to His Son – as nearly as I can tell.And – once again – the fact that God cares enough about us to want to elevate us to a position of reigning with Him, and makes it possible through the sacrifice and resurrection of His Son Jesus … that’s VERY GOOD NEWS.That’s gospel.

  12. Keith I too have reached the conclusion, there are unknowable things, but when someone states they know that truth and I don’t then I try to find the way they found out, and why I remain ignorant. and the bible is the only way for me to find out why. and I have searched and researched this thing some say, and have no evidence that what they say is true. What was Paul speaking of when he made this statement?1Cor:11:3: But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God.Is this the heirachy according to Paul? or just something else that is unknowable.

  13. “Your father Abraham rejoiced at the thought of seeing my day; he saw it and was glad.” “You are not yet fifty years old,” the Jews said to him, “and you have seen Abraham!” “I tell you the truth,” Jesus said, “before Abraham was born, I am” (John 8:56-58). The gospel isn’t a denial of the deity of Jesus the Messiah.

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