Don't Add to the Gospel

By David J. Stewart | February 2009

...but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. —Galatians 1:7

       The Gospel (Good News) of Jesus Christ is simply that Jesus died, was buried, and rose again 3-days later (1st Corinthians 15:1-4). Jesus did this to pay for our sins, because He loves us (1st John 3:16). Jesus shed His blood on Calvary and then ascended into Heaven after His resurrection to present Himself before the Father on our behalf, with the blood that He had shed . . .

“Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us.” —Hebrews 9:12

What a precious Savior! It's important that we realize that it is Christ's righteousness by which we are saved, and not our own self-righteousness . . .

“But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness. Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works. —Romans 4:5-6

We are saved by Jesus' righteousness, by means of the blood that He shed for our sins and applied to the Mercyseat in Heaven (1st Peter 1:18,19).

How to Subtly Pervert the Gospel

If I were the Devil, and thankfully I'm not, I'd strive to pervert the Gospel as subtly as possible. I'd only change a small portion of the Gospel—just enough to send someone to Hell—but not enough to clearly appear as a deception. The most believable lie is one that comes closest to the truth. Satan knows this, which is why he appears as an angel of light to deceive us (2nd Corinthians 11:13,14). The easiest and most common method of perverting the Gospel has always been to ADD a requirement to salvation which the Bible does not.

The Salvation Army's Unbiblical Teaching On Salvation

There are various ways in which Satan has successfully perverted the Gospel in many churches and religious organizations today. For example: The Salvation Army's official doctrinal statement plainly states . . .

"We believe that continuance in a state of salvation depends upon continued obedient faith in Christ."

SOURCE: Official doctrinal statement of the Salvation Army, doctrine # 9.

That is a unbiblical. Being born-again is not a process. The physical birth is not dependent upon the manner in which one lives. Neither is the spiritual birth. Salvation is of the Lord. Romans 4:5 plainly tells us that a man's faith is “counted for righteousness,” and Romans 4:6 says that “God imputeth righteousness without works.” You don't need to be a Greek scholar to know that what the Salvation Army is teaching is NOT Biblical. Continuance in a state of salvation is entirely in God's hands, and is forever settled the moment a sinner becomes a born-again child of God through faith in the Son of God. Salvation is NOT conditional upon the life one lives, nor upon “continued obedient faith in Christ” as the Salvation Army errantly teaches. Salvation is receiving; NOT giving. It is the free gift of God (Romans 5:15; 6:23), paid for by Jesus' precious blood (Revelation 1:5).

The implication is that salvation can be lost by not continuing in faith. I believe this teaching was more out of ignorance of the Bible than anything else. I believe that William Booth was a true believer and that those in the Salvation Army are saved; but they do adhere to the heresy that salvation can be lost. Salvation is a free gift from God, which cannot be lost. Those who claim to no longer be Christians were never saved in the first place. 1st John 2:19, "They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us." If saved, always saved.

The Salvation Army is vague on exactly what they believe. If they believe as John MacArthur teaches that, i.e.,

“The life we live, not the words we speak, determines our eternal destiny” (Hard to Believe, p. 93).

...then that is a false gospel of works salvation. Lordship Salvation is a lie of the Devil, NOT based upon the Word of God. John MacArthur is an unsaved Modernist.

If, however, the Salvation Army simply believes that a person must continue to have faith in Christ, apart from all works, then that's a different story. Howbeit, it's not Biblically accurate because a true believer will NEVER lose faith in Christ. A person who claims to have lost faith never had faith to begin with. They may have found the philosophy of Christianity for awhile. They may have joined a church for awhile. But they only had churchianity without Christianity. The Gospel is the good news to be believed, not a call to duty or reformation.

Moody Bible Institute’s Perverted Gospel

I hate being the bad guy all the time, exposing evangelical ministries like Moody Bible Institute and the Salvation Army, but my first and foremost loyalty is to Jesus Christ and the Word of God. The simplicity of the Gospel must not be corrupted by ADDING anything to it. You DON'T have to continue in obedient faith to be saved. You DON'T have to make a commitment to Christ to be saved. You simply need to acknowledge your guilt of sin and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ to be forgiven . . . “To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins.” Why can't men just leave the Gospel alone and believe on Christ? Amen!

Corrupt Bibles Yield Corrupt Doctrines

Increasingly, because of corrupted bibles like the New International Version and the English Standard Version, the plan of salvation is subtly being corrupted with the idea that sinners cannot be saved without committing their life to cease from sinful living and consecrate their life to God as part of saving-faith. This is an utterly false gospel rooted in man's self-righteousness. Pastor Harry Ironside (1876-1951) correctly states . . .

"When anyone comes promising salvation to those ‘who make full surrender' of all that they have to God, and who 'pay the price of full salvation' he is preaching another gospel, for the price was paid on Calvary's cross and the work that saves is finished. It was Christ Jesus who made the full surrender when He yielded His life on Calvary that saves us, not our surrender in any way to Him."

SOURCE: Harry A. Ironside (1876-1951), former pastor of Moody Memorial Church, from the Gospel tract, Another Gospel?

Please read the best explanation I've ever read concerning the Gospel and repentance, by Pastor Harry A. Ironside (1876-1951). Clearly, Ironside taught a Free Grace view of the Gospel...

“The Gospel is not a call to repentance, or to amendment of our ways, to make restitution for past sins, or to promise to do better in the future. These things are proper in their place, but they do not constitute the Gospel; for the Gospel is not good advice to be obeyed, it is good news to be believed. Do not make the mistake then of thinking that the Gospel is a call to duty or a call to reformation, a call to better your condition, to behave yourself in a more perfect way than you have been doing in the past …

Nor is the Gospel a demand that you give up the world, that you give up your sins, that you break off bad habits, and try to cultivate good ones. You may do all these things, and yet never believe the Gospel and consequently never be saved at all.”

SOURCE: Dr. Harry A. Ironside, from the sermon: What Is The Gospel?

Christ's work of redemption is what saves us, and not our own frail efforts to serve God and avoid sinning. The change which salvation brings (2nd Corinthians 5:17) is the FRUIT of genuine repentance; and not a part of saving-faith. Amen! It is not what you're doing that gets you to Heaven, it where you're looking. Look to Jesus!

Don't Mess With the Gospel