Sound Doctrine - Titus 2:1

"A Different Gospel"

Bryan Matthew Dockens

To the churches of Galatia, the apostle Paul exclaimed: "I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ" (Galatians 1:6-7).

Whenever the truth of the gospel is perverted, those who proclaim the message are preaching "a different gospel". Such is the case with the following examples.

The prosperity gospel is the doctrine promoted by Joel Osteen, televangelist and leader of Lakewood Church in Houston, Texas, which boasts a weekly attendance of 38,000. The gospel of prosperity is the theme of Bruce Wilkinson's best-selling book The Prayer Of Jabez. This different gospel is the notion that faith in God yields financial abundance, but, according to the scripture, those "who suppose that godliness is a means of gain" are "destitute of the truth" (1 Timothy 6:5)!

Jesus preached, "Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal" (Matthew 6:19-20). Worldly treasure decays; whereas heavenly treasure is everlasting.

God's word teaches us to pray, "Give me neither poverty nor riches - Feed me with the food allotted to me; lest I be full and deny You, and say, 'Who is the Lord?' Or lest I be poor and steal, and profane the name of my God" (Proverbs 30:8-9). While God does not require a vow of poverty to be a Christian, neither does he accept demands for abundance. He expects His people to ask for enough and only enough.

The social gospel, practiced among denominations and digressive "churches of Christ" alike, is the idea that the mission of the Lord's church is to minister to the "whole man" - physically, morally, and intellectually. This concept is manifest in the abundance of colleges, hospitals, and orphanages operated as religious institutions or the food and games provided by so many churches. But what does the scripture say? "The kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit" (Romans 14:17). The church is a spiritual kingdom, not a social club or health clinic. Of the Corinthians, Paul rhetorically inquired, "Do you not have houses to eat and drink in?" (1 Corinthians 11:22). He taught "if anyone is hungry, let him eat at home" (1 Corinthians 11:34). Feeding the stomach is the work of the home, while the church is charged with feeding the spirit. "The church of the living God" is described as "the pillar and ground of the truth" (1 Timothy 3:15), and God's word is truth (John 17:17); therefore, dispensing the word of God is the church's work (Ephesians 3:10). The rest is a distraction from that mission.

"Another testament of Jesus Christ" is how the so-called "Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints" describes the Book of Mormon. But, to paraphrase a dear sister, the new testament doesn't end with "To be continued". Prophets of the old covenant spoke of "a new covenant" which would supersede that one (Jeremiah 31:31-34); within the new covenant, though, is the statement that "the faith... was once for all delivered" (Jude 3), having no need of progressive revelations.

Mormonism claims to be the product of an angelic revelation by "Moroni" to Joseph Smith, Jr. Yet, the apostle Paul warned, "But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed" (Galatians 1:8-9).

Are You Taking Your Medicine?

J.D. Williams

An elderly gentleman who hated going to the doctor became ill. Finally agreeing to go, he was given a prescription to be taken daily for a month. Taking his first dose he nearly choked! So, he added a little water to it. His next dose was just as bad, so he added a little honey to it. He continued adding a little this, a little that, until it began to taste pretty good.

When he returned to the doctor for his checkup however, the doctor was puzzled as to why there was no progress made. "Did you take your medicine as I prescribed", the doctor asked. "Sure did", the old man replied. The doctor said, "Well, I don't understand why you haven't improved".

I think we all see what happened. The old man kept adding things to his medicine until it was so deluded it couldn't do the work for which it was intended. Too many people say they are taking the medicine God has prescribed, but by adding their old traditions and man made creeds along with other erroneous practices they have not only deluded God's word but have polluted it beyond any usefulness. Some of these traditions go back hundreds of years and are given equal authority with God's word. By doing this they feel they have made his word more palatable, but in reality have only weakened it and robbed it of any real value.

God's word can be strong medicine sometimes, but the great Physician knows what He is doing. No one can take this watered-down, denominational medicine taught by men and correctly expect to be cured of their sins.

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