Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Will the Real Jesus Please Stand Up?

"Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, 'Peace be with you.' They were startled and frightened, thinking they saw a ghost. He said to them, 'Why are you troubled, and why do doubts rise in your minds? Look at my hands and my feet. It is I myself! Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have." Luke 24:36-39, NIV.

     In his book The Gospel of the Christ, author and groundless gospel advocate Tom Stegall has correctly observed that "any seasoned missionary will attest to the fact that merely proclaiming the name 'Jesus' and telling lost souls to believe in that name for eternal life will spell disaster on the mission field. This approach will be the surest recipe for syncretism and false professions of faith in Jesus. People must understand the good news of the gospel of Christ in order to truly believe in His name for everlasting life."1 In light of this statement, we may ask the same question that Stegall asks in his book: "Which 'Jesus' must a person believe in for eternal life?"2
  • the CROSSLESS "Jesus," who can be virtually anyone or anything as long as the promise of John 6:47 is believed?
  • the GROUNDLESS "Jesus," who can be a non-buried and never-seen deceiver savior who died for our sins by cosmic accident (as opposed to "according to the Scriptures") and rose from the dead on the 666th day (as opposed to "on the third day according to the Scriptures") - could this be the Christ?3
  • the GLORIOUS Jesus Christ who died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and was buried, and was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and was seen by many witnesses (see 1 Corinthians 15:3-5; cf. 2 Corinthians 4:4; 1 Timothy 1:11).4


                1 Tom Stegall, The Gospel of the Christ [Milwaukee: Grace Gospel Press, 2009], p. 133.

                2 Ibid., p. 85, italics his.

                3 This highlights the problem of syncretism. According to the groundless gospel (which promotes the non-buried and never-seen savior), a lost soul would be considered a Christian even if he believes in a Christ who rose from the dead on the 666th day! However, it should be obvious that this is nothing more than a "false Christ " (Matt. 24:24) - for such a one is not the Christ of the Scriptures (cf. Lk. 24:46; 1 Cor. 15:3ff). We must remember that "even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light" (2 Cor. 11:14, cf. 2 Cor. 11:1-4, NKJV).

                4 For further discussion see the article "Getting the Gospel Right".