The Half Truth Gospel

The Half Truth Gospel

The doctrine of universal redemption is unscriptural and destructive of the gospel-JI Packer [1]

Listening and reading JI Packer’s The Death of Death in the Death of Christ, I was blown away how crisp incisive he is and convicting in how we all have espoused some half-truths of the gospel in our church upbringings, and pastoring. As someone who has pastored a few churches over ten years, coming from largely Arminian charismatic movement, listening to JI Packer is a real eye opener, and that should be as the number 1 on our reading list. Not only that I really am blessed to see how JI Packer nailed down the gospels truncation and the world manipulating with the gospel, distorting it, that the root of all these Christianity problem is that we have received a different gospel.

The problem of holiness, our evangelism, pastors dealing with the flock, are all part of this complex problem in our days. A substitute product that doesn’t reproduce the old authentic gospel. It doesn’t produce a sense of deep repentance, holiness, a spirit of worship and a concern for the church. The reason is the character. Because men have been trying to put man as center, and the gospel as supporting it. To be helpful to men, to bring peace, comfort, satisfaction, and too little concern to glorify God. The old gospel’s first concern is always give glory to God, proclamation of God’s mercy, sovereignty, bowed down to him for his goodness.[2] Its center is always God. In the new gospel, the center is man. Calling the old gospel as religious, the new is not.

And this boils down to the problem of Arminian theology. Basically Arminian theology says Jesus came and died for everyone in the world, and it’s up to us to make a move to come to Christ and believe in him. In that sense, we depict that God the father and the Son are not sovereignly actively drawing sinners towards themselves, but as Packer calls it merely waiting in quiet impotence “at the door of our hearts” for us to let them in.[3] Can you imagine how weak God is with that theology? God waits in quiet impotence at our hearts, waiting for us to open the door to let them in. This may sound ridiculous, but that’s exactly how Arminian Christians believe in salvation. Because we major in the free will of men, ultimately for us to accept Christ into our lives, it will have to be us pulling the trigger. Not God. It’s like I am in charge, not God. That’s the beginning of shifting from God centered gospel to man centered gospel. Gospel of God is merely to “help us”, not to glorify God and put him right in the center of our theology and lives.

[1] JI Packer’s The Death of Death in the Death of Christ

[2] Ibid

[3] Ibid

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