For I Am Not Ashamed Of The Gospel

By Brandon Galbreath

We all have character flaws. The funny thing is I just recently considered making a list of my own. I didn’t even know exactly what qualifies as character flaws. There are literally hundreds of them as I searched through all the listed flaws I came upon a useful three-category explanation. What is funny is that these character flaws are for writers creating characters for either literature, movies, or television. Again, I am a theologian not a thespian. However, I think we can apply them to real life. 

  • Minor character flaws are minor physical or mental quirks to a character’s personality. For example, you might have a someone that always seems to say the wrong thing or just makes for awkward conversation. 
  • Major character flaws usually come from life-changing events that affected that person. For example, Jane Doe has a fatal flaw of putting others before herself or putting herself before others. This major flaw in her character nearly gets her killed dozens of times.
  • Fatal character flaws are the ones that make or break a character. These are flaws they must overcome or die. As Christians, do think we have any spiritual character flaws? 

Today, I want to talk about spiritual character flaws. It is the fatal flaw of preaching a false gospel which we fine being proclaimed today. The reality of our situation is that true believers are becoming fewer and fewer. Meanwhile, false preachers, teachers, and apostates increase. The teachings that are being preached from pulpits today are conforming to the world. This means that Christians are turning their backs on God. Some do not realize they are doing so. Even worse many believe they are preaching the true gospel. But they are so distorted a misleading academia, a paranoid media, and brainwashed political ideologies that falsely proclaim Christ when in reality they are promoting a worldly agenda. 

A well-known professor and pastor in my area of South Texas said on social media, “that the gospel is not enough anymore.” This was his response to the growing pressure for pastors to acknowledge and preach social justice plus the gospel. Is the gospel message of Jesus Christ no longer enough? Let’s hold that thought and we will be back to answer this fundamental question.

I used to worry that all my sermons were exactly the same and my congregation would grow tired of hearing the same message. Then I thought about the topics that are repetitive in my sermons. I am always preaching about Christ and everything leading to Him. That is all that I preach. Just in case, I double checked to ensure there are no other topics that should be preached other than a Christ-Centered one. There are no reasons other than Christ Alone. I wish I could say that false teachers were few. Unfortunately a false gospel has spread across the world time and time again just like this pandemic. Scripture has much to say about false teachers, false gospels, and false prophets proclaiming the Will of God. It’s not a matter of whether we are living in the end times because we are always living in them. We need not concern ourselves with the exact timing of God. Instead we need only be prepared, to be centered on His Word, fixated on Christ, and do our due diligence by preaching and defending the Scriptures. Therefore, we must recognize and point out the errors in false teachings and present the true Gospel of Jesus Christ. 

“No Other Gospel”

Galatians 1:6-9 (KJV)

I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, if any man preaches any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.

Accursed is repeated twice in Galatians 1:6-9. That word appears only six times in the entire Bible, two of which in this passage. God’s Holy Word states that anyone who comes and preaches another gospel, whether it be a man or an angel, he or she will be accursed. That is a serious word in our English language and it a very strong word in the Greek language. 

 “ANATHEMA (ä-nä’-the-mä) ἀνάθεμα” literally means a man accursed devoted to the direst of woes set apart for complete destruction of the cursed. The accursed person is doomed because they become so separated from Christ. The Apostle Paul declares in the strongest manner that the Gospel he preached was the one and only way of salvation and to preach another was an attempt to invalidate the death and resurrection of Christ. Paul explains that he received the Gospel directly from God. He did not invent it himself nor did he learn it from someone else. It was a divine revelation from Jesus Christ. A person, who does not love Jesus, will not never see glory. He or she will be cursed forever. In the passage above the word anathema is used twice meaning doubly cursed. Scripture is telling us that if someone preaches a false gospel they are going to be absolutely and forever obliterated from His existence. That is why preachers and teachers of God’s Word need to take His Word so seriously because there is a judgment for teaching or preaching something that is in violation against the true Gospel. Those doomed preachers are the ones who say, “Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and, in your name, perform many miracles? Then the Lord will say, I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers” (Matthew 7:22-23).

The Apostle Paul is never one to beat around the bush when it comes to the church and the Lord’s work. Paul preaches clearly on these points. He opens his Epistle by stating his name, then who the audience is, and goes right for juggler by declaring to the Galatians that they are cursed for preaching a false gospel and allowing false teachings into the church.

I used to work in insurance and financials where I had to pass a test to earn a certification. After that there was more testing and assessments. It was constant throughout the year. People needed trustworthiness, integrity, and due diligence from the people handling another person’s finances. Now consider handling and performing God’s Word, His ministry, and caring for His flock? There is more at stake as souls lay in the balance. No one has the right to tamper with the Gospel. When a pastor alters the Gospel, they have done a horrendous thing. They are robbing people of faith. Of hope. This is not the first time Paul had to address the church and call out a false gospel.  Before telling the Galatian church, he told the Church of Corinth as 2 Corinthians 11:4 states,

For if one comes and preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached, or you receive a different spirit which you have not received, or a different gospel which you have not accepted, you bear this beautifully.

Paul’s warning remains clear. 

It was a problem in the church back then and it remains so today. Christians must stand up and take bold action against false teachings. There is more to this than losing your job or your friends or family members. Eternity is at stake. We must confront falsity not matter the circumstances or cost for their is no cost greater.

So what is the true Gospel?

The word “gospel” means “good news,” and the good news is that Jesus Christ came to this Earth born of a virgin. He was both fully God and fully human. Even though tempted and tried in every way He lived a sinless life. While all of humanity is absolutely guilty of sin. We are dead in our trespasses. No hope, but one. Jesus bore the punishment for our sins and offered His life as a living sacrifice on the Cross. A penal substitution; an ultimate scapegoat that relinquished the Judaic sacrificial system forever. Jesus Christ died, resurrected on third day, appeared before hundreds, then later ascended into heaven where he will return from heaven to earth one final day. Jesus promised that if you place your trust in Him alone, confess and repent your sins to Him alone, then you will be saved by His Grace Alone. Christ will prepare a room in His Father’s house for you that is His promise. Until His return Christ commanded us to make ourselves ready for whenever the hour comes by living sacrificially and sharing the Gospel with everyone no matter their creed or background in life. That’s the real Good News. Is the gospel message of Jesus Christ enough? Not just the Message, but the Messenger who gave us the Good News physically? Yes, the Gospel of Jesus Christ is enough because He is alive!

I want us to look at a few false gospels that are relevant because they are prevalent today. However, I must stress that we need only to be aware of false teachings and not indulge ourselves in a life of complete study of these false teachings and religions. 

1st False Teaching: The Knowledge Gospel (Gnostic)

This would be the occultist, theosophy, esoteric and mysticism religions. Most of them basically have been adapted and come from Buddhism (also a false teaching). Just to name a few; the Wiccans, Nazi occultism, scientologist, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and the Nation of Islam. 

2nd False Teaching— The Racial Identity Gospel

These are the preachers and teachers that believe only a certain race is chosen for salvation and the battle between good and evil comes down to racial divisions. Christian Identity, Black Theology, Pan-Africanism, Ku Klux Klan, White or black power it’s all the same false gospel. They preach a false white Jesus or black Jesus. 

 3rd False Teaching—The Quick-Fix Gospel- the Christian life is not a quick fix. It is a discipline, an art, a science.

 4th False Teaching—Social Justice

Social Justice today has a political agenda and puts Christ secondary if not nonexistent. It tends to be more popular among clergy than laity and its leaders are predominantly associated with radical leftist ideologies. 

5th False Teaching— The Politically Correct Gospel

Our contemporary culture expects us to tolerate, accept, and affirm all their radical beliefs and ideologies.  Not only are we expected to affirm people, but we are expected to affirm their ideas and philosophies and, in some cases, apologize for having not done all of this in the first place. And in that spirit, it seems that a great many believers in our time have come to embrace the ideas and philosophies of the world. Remember what happened to that generation of people right before the flood? Christ said in Luke 17:26-27, Just as it was in the days of Noah, so will it be in the days of the Son of Man. They were eating and drinking and marrying and being given in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all.” Jesus was saying that whenever the philosophy of life becomes carnal and worldly (like in the days of Noah), He would return. The gospel is not politically correct. Now this doesn’t give us an excuse to be insensitive jerks. We ought to be marked by compassion and grace. We ought to love and respect people unconditionally regardless of their lifestyle or beliefs. But Christians have a duty and a work to perform through the Great Commission. We must declare the good news faithfully with due diligence and Christ-like integrity regardless of whether it is popular or not.

Conclusion

We must never forget that the Christian life is a living relationship with God through Jesus Christ. A man does not become a Christian merely by agreeing to a set of doctrines. He becomes a Christian by submitting to Christ and trusting Him forever. You cannot mix grace and works because the one excludes the other. Salvation is the gift of God’s grace purchased for us by Jesus Christ on the cross. To turn from Grace to Law is to desert the God who saved us.

(This article originated from a sermon preached Sunday Nov. 15th, 2020 by Brandon Galbreath and was formatted for reading purposes).

“In-Doxycated”

(November Issue 2020)

By: Brandon Galbreath

In today’s crazy postmodern society Christians cannot really define themselves with words such as orthodoxy or heterodoxy (heresy). Indeed, both words by definition are clearly direct opposites, such as right vs. left. However, the “doxy” of ortho vs. hetero is really just a paradox. What I mean by that is heresy can easily be orthodoxy because, the side of truth sometimes loses against a more powerful force of heretics. As Alister McGrath characterizes it, “heresy is the orthodoxy of history’s losers”(McGrath 2009, Heresy: A History of Defending Truth).  We have not seen this much tension and uncertainty since the brink of the Civil War. Sadly, most media outlets work for the radical left and are not concerned in the interest of truth. So, we must take a “heresy” in today’s context as a social and political approach, where heresy is seen as an ideology used in world views struggling solely for power. We see this today in the political and social clash that has divided America once again.  Truth has simply been destabilized for the absorption of power. 

Ironically, the title of the Communist Party’s source of news for the people of the Soviet Union was called  Pravda, which means truth. Pravda emerged as a leading newspaper of the Soviet Union after the October Revolution in 1917. One of the most controversial events that the Soviet Union with Pravda lied and falsified the truth was the Katyn Forest Massacre. 

We must take a “heresy” in today’s context as a social and political approach

Katyn Forest Massacre  

In the spring of 1940 the NKVD or “Soviet Secret Police” executed an estimated 22,000 Polish nationals at several locations including the Katyn Forrest. The Soviets kept this mass killing secret until it was discovered by the Nazi Germans in 1943. The Soviets blamed the Germans for the mass killings, claiming that the Nazis committed the killings in 1941. The Soviets organized a cover-up to prove their false claim and formed a special commission called the Burdenko Commission.

It was not until 2010 the Russian Parliament voted a declaration blaming Stalin and other Soviet officials for having personally ordered and approved the Katyn massacre. 

Background: Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact

On August 23rd of 1939 Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union singed a non-aggression pact. Then on September 1st, less than 10 days later, World War II officially started when Germany invaded Poland. Soviet leader Joseph Stalin ordered the invasion of Poland shortly after on September 17th “The roots of the Katyn massacre lie in the Nazi-Soviet Non-Aggression Pact of 23, August 1939, which led to the German-Soviet partition of Poland” (Materski 2007, Katyn : A Crime Without Punishment).

This is important politically in two aspects. This was a strategic act of deception by Hitler, because, the pact would be broken in 1941 when Germany invaded Russia during Operation Barbarossa. In my own personal view this is significant because of the fact that both the Nazis and the Soviets invaded Poland, but only war was declared on Germany. Why did major powers such as England and France not also declare war on the Soviet Union?

The Marxist idea of a utopian society is enticing too many, especially the poor and broken masses.

Beria Memo to Stalin

“The orders for the mass murder had been given by Lavrenty Beria, the head of NKVD, and had  been signed and approved by the Soviet Politburo, including its leader, Joseph Stalin.” (Sterio 2012, Katyn Forest Massacre: Of Genocide, State Lies, and Secrecy. Case Western Reserve Journal of International Law). This memo was written in 1940 and was not declassified until 1990. Furthermore, the Russian government held classified volumes of documents related to the massacre which were released in 2010. 

In 1918,  Pravda became an official publication, or “organ”, of the Soviet Communist Party.  Pravda became the conduit for announcing official policy and policy changes and would remain so until 1991. Subscription to Pravda was mandatory for state run companies, the armed services and other organizations until 1989. 

This organization was a great source of fake news and  actually still exists in Russia today. Currently, the Pravda paper is today run by the Communist Party of the Russian Federation, whereas the online Pravda.ru is privately owned and has international editions published in Russian, English, French and Portuguese.

Conclusion

Here and now in the United States, we face a bigger threat of false information and censorship. Take your pick from big tech such as Google, Facebook, and Twitter and radical left news such as CNN, NBC, ABC, and etc. We cannot let this country continue down the dark path of socialist revolution. The Marxist idea of a utopian society is enticing too many, especially the poor and broken masses. However, history has proven any country developed on the ideologies of Karl Marx will only provide more suffering to most of the people  and allow a handful of evil tyrants free reign. 

References

McGrath, Alister. 2009. Heresy: A History of Defending Truth

Materski, W., Lebedeva, N. S., & Cienciala, A. M. (2007). Katyn : A Crime Without Punishment. New Haven: Yale University Press. 

Sterio, M. (2012). Katyn Forest Massacre: Of Genocide, State Lies, and Secrecy. Case Western Reserve Journal of International Law, 619.

Foreign Relations of the United States: Diplomatic Papers, 1944, The British Commonwealth and Europe, Volume III  Document 1155. https://history.state.gov/historicaldocuments/citing-frus