DIFFERING VIEWPOINTS OR DIFFERENT GOSPELS: WHICH?
By Curtis Pugh
By Curtis Pugh
Every man preaches from his viewpoint. Whether he holds to God's sovereignty, local church only, universal church, spontaneous-combustion church origins, successionism, post-millennialism, pre-millenialism, covenant theology, baptismal regeneration, pre-trib rapture, mid-trib rapture, post-trib rapture, tongues talking, etc., etc. he will preach from that standpoint. It cannot be otherwise – whether he deals with these aspects of his theology or not. It must be the case that his thinking and his words spring from his viewpoint: his belief.
A preacher's orthodoxy affects even the gospel he preaches and how he presents it. One writer (I've forgotten who) said that for the Gospel to be preached rightly certain things must be presented in “Gospel order.” God must be in His rightful place in the preacher's presentation: absolutely sovereign. Christ must be in His rightful place: God's sufficient sacrifice for sin. The Holy Spirit must be in His rightful place: the Regenerator of dead spirits. Man must be in his rightful place: totally dead spiritually and possessed of a carnal mind and therefore unable to do anything to please God. And so on with godly sorrow, repentance, faith, baptism, etc., etc. all presented as fruits of the Spirit's work as a consequence of regeneration.
The Arminian presents a god who is not sovereign, but who is trying to save everyone but cannot because most will not let Him. Such a preacher says that Christ died trying to save everyone, but their salvation depends on what they do. He presents the Holy Spirit as a reactionary who can only regenerate a dead sinner after that sinner as done something of a religious nature that pleases God. He presents man as only sick rather than dead: in need of a bit of medicine or a bandage instead of being spiritually dead in need of a resurrection and so he presents man as possessing the ability to please God by this or that religious deed. He makes the fruits of the Spirit out to be the fruits of a man who has been persuaded that it is in his best eternal interests to “get saved” so as to escape Hell and go to Heaven.
Is there not a vast difference between the two viewpoints of such men – and not only in their viewpoints, but in the gospel which they preach? Do these two preach the same gospel? Do these two prescribe the same remedy for man's need? What agreement is there between them? It seems the bare facts of one may agree with the other, but the meaning of the facts and the results of God's actions presented in these facts are far different. “Can two walk together, except they be agreed?” (Amos 3:3). Will anyone even suggest that these two are in agreement?
The true Gospel rightly preached glorifies the Triune God as being successful in accomplishing everything He designs to do. The gospel of the other sort presents the Triune God as a failure more often than not because while He is trying to save everyone, most everyone successfully resists Him so that He cannot do what He wants to do. Such a “gospel” does not glorify anyone other than man.
Grace Bible Baptist Church
26080 Wax Road
Denham Springs, LA 70726