In light of my previous post on Luther, and my opening post for this blog about being called a heretic, I thought I might comment on some recent articles and books which condemn me (and other speakers and writers) as someone who teaches a crossless gospel.
These books and articles, by pastors, bloggers, and writers who will go unnamed in this post, basically accuse me (and several others) of removing the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ from the biblical gospel. They accuses us of teaching a “crossless gospel.”
Here is my brief response:
I Don’t Hold to the Crossless Gospel
Frankly, when I read these books and articles, I was shocked to read what I (supposedly) believed. It was reported that I believed the cross was not central to the gospel.
Yet I have always believed and taught that the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ are central to the gospel. Without the death and resurrection of Jesus, there is no biblical gospel. There is no such thing as a crossless gospel. I believe the cross is central to the gospel.
Without the cross of Jesus, there is no gospel!
The Authors Quote me Out of Context
The authors quote a few writings of mine as proof that I have ripped the cross out of the gospel, and all I can say is that they should have read the entire article from which they quote, and some of my other writings as well. Anybody can be quoted out of context to get them to say the exact opposite of what they are actually saying. This tactic began in the garden when Satan misquoted God to Eve, and continued when he misquoted Scripture to Jesus. (Not that I am God or Scripture and my opponent is Satan, but the point is that people must be quoted in context.)
If these authors had read the entirety of the article they quote, they would see that I do not believe in a crossless gospel, but believe in the centrality of the cross for the gospel!
The Authors Quote Others Out of Context
And I did some researching into the other writers and scholars these authors quote, and discovered that the same tactic was used against them. In each instance I looked up, the quote was ripped from a context which says the exact opposite of what was quote appeared to be saying. Each of these men the author attacks believes the cross is central to the gospel.
The Crossless Gospel Doesn’t Exist!
And so now, sadly, the unnamed authors of the accusatory books and articles make themselves look foolish because, for everybody who knows better, the view they are trying to refute doesn’t exist!
Initially, when I read some of these books and articles, I laughed at the way I had been so misrepresented. But now, I just feel bad for those who need to defend their own views and consolidate their own power by misrepresenting the views of others.
I wish that these unnamed authors would have checked with me and a few others that were quoted out of context to see if our views were properly presented. As the books and articles now stand, the only thing they do is reveal a lack of scholarship based on misquotes and straw-man fallacies. They have set up a false gospel of their own making, called it a “crossless gospel,” assigned this so-called “false-gospel” to some innocent bystanders (such as me), and then accused us of holding this gospel of their own making, which of course, we do not.
The worst part about this is that those who read the books and articles of these various teachers might not do their own homework by checking out the baseless claims that they read and hear, and as a result, may be led astray into confusion and the false maligning of godly men.
The bottom line is that whatever these books and articles claim I believe, I think I know better. I’ve said it in my writings and sermons: The cross of Jesus Christ is central to the gospel. Without the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, there would be no biblical gospel, no offer of eternal life, no hope of heaven, and no forgiveness of sins.
So away with this “Tragedy of the Crossless Gospel” travesty. I don’t believe in a crossless gospel, and don’t know anybody who does.
There is no such thing as a crossless gospel, and those who purportedly teach such a gospel do not actually believe there is any such thing. The term “crossless gospel” is a pejorative misnomer.