There is more than One Gospel

It seems important to emphasize the fact that the Bible clearly speaks of at least three different Gospels (some, including C.I. Scofield and Lewis Sperry Chafer, have observed and defined four).

Chafer states: Strong objection is offered by Covenant theologians to a distinction between the gospel of the kingdom as preached by John the Baptist, Christ, and the other disciples and the gospel of the grace of God. One of those Covenant theologians states that to make such a distinction is “unfortunate” and “dangerous.” He with others contends that the kingdom gospel is identical with the gospel of divine grace. Here nevertheless will arise an absurdity which does not deter this type of theologian, namely, that men could preach the grace gospel based as it is on the death and resurrection of Christ (1Cor 15.1-4) when they did not believe Christ would die or be raised again (Luke 18.31-34).

Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you... how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures. [1Corinthians 15.1-4]

Then he took unto him the twelve, and said unto them, Behold, we go up to Jerusalem, and all things that are written by the prophets concerning the Son of man shall be accomplished.  For he shall be delivered unto the Gentiles, and shall be mocked, and spitefully entreated, and spitted on: And they shall scourge him, and put him to death: and the third day he shall rise again.  And they understood none of these things: and this saying was hid from them, neither knew they the things which were spoken. [Luke 18:31–34]

Gospel

The word "gospel" in Greek means ‘good news’ and was fully appreciated when all the news of the day had to be carried by couriers. To bear good news was a high honor. Four different messages of good news have been rightly identified and set forth by Dr. C. I. Scofield [three are noted here]:

The Gospel of the Kingdom

This is the good news that God purposes to set up on the earth, in fulfillment of the Davidic Covenant (2 Sam. 7:16), a kingdom, political, spiritual, Israelitish, universal, over which God’s Son, David’s heir, shall be King, and which shall be, for one thousand years, the manifestation of the righteousness of God in human affairs.

Two preachings of this Gospel are mentioned, one past, beginning with the ministry of John the Baptist, continued by our Lord and His disciples, and ending with the Jewish rejection of the King. The other is yet future (Matt. 24:14), during the great tribulation, and immediately preceding the coming of the King in glory.

The Gospel of the Grace of God

This is the good news that Jesus Christ, the rejected King, has died on the cross for the sins of the world, that He was raised from the dead for our justification, and that by Him all that believe are justified from all things.

This form of the Gospel is described in many ways. It is the Gospel “of God” (Rom. 1:1) because it originates in His love; “of Christ” (2 Cor. 10:14) because it flows from His sacrifice, and because He is the alone Object of Gospel faith; of “the grace of God” (Acts 20:24) because it saves those whom the law curses; of “the glory” (1 Tim. 1:11; 2 Cor. 4:4) because it concerns Him who is in the glory, and who is bringing the many sons to glory (Heb. 2:10); of “our salvation” (Eph. 1:13) because it is the “power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth” (Rom. 1:16); of “the uncircumcision” (Gal. 2:7) because it saves wholly apart from forms and ordinances; of “peace” (Eph. 6:15) because through Christ it makes peace between the sinner and God, and imparts inward peace.

The Everlasting Gospel

This is to be preached to the earth-dwellers at the very end of the great tribulation and immediately preceding the judgment of the nations ((Rev. 14:6; Matt. 25:31 …). It is neither the Gospel of the kingdom, nor of grace. Though its burden is judgment, not salvation, it is good news to Israel and to those who, during the tribulation, have been saved (Rev. 7:9–14; Luke 21:28; Ps. 96:11–13; Isa. 35:4–10).

Source:

The above is an except from Lewis Sperry Chafer's Systematic Theology. The whole article (which is small) can be downloaded here.

Tags: