The time has arrived for us to take an honest look at the false hope held out to the world by the apostate Church of Rome. Sadly, very few evangelical apologists have been presenting this issue of Roman Catholicism at its most basic of levels and frankly appear afraid to tell it like it really is regarding the Roman Catholic Church. And virtually all that is being written along the lines of the kinds of things I have been sharing with you here at Apprising Ministries has only been coming to us from the Fundamentalist circles.

Since When Are Irreconcilable Differences Somehow Reconcilable?

The truth is the vast majority of evangelical Protestant apologetic/discernment ministries and scholars have continued to present this critical issue of the apostate Church of Rome as if Roman Catholicism is simply another branch of orthodox Christianity with which we have some “significant differences.” Imagine the lunacy in the Lord’s as Purpose Driven pope Rick Warren, allegedly an evangelical Protestant lists the Church of Rome as a Christian denomination at his Purpose This is why I have felt so strongly led to come before you and to take this look into the subject of what constitutes the real hope of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

In the interest of fairness I want you to know that some of these Protestant organizations have even called the differences that evangelicals have with the Roman Catholic Church “irreconcilable.” However, they then turn around and say – “we continue to dialogue” with them. The question I’m asking is: Why? Why would you need to continue to “dialogue” over differences that are “irreconcilable?” Don’t we realize that by definition irreconcilable means “diametrically opposed” – not able to even be reconciled – cannot be brought back together?

As much as we might like this matter to go away, it just isn’t going to. In fact, the Evangelical community has now sunk so low, that recently a leading Christian apologist, Dr. Ravi Zacharias was asked to preach at the Mormon Tabernacle. That in and of itself is not necessarily bad. After all, the great evangelist D.L. Moody accepted the same invitation; but history shows he wasn’t asked to return. We must remember that if the Christian is asked to speak with the unbeliever, we must tell them the truth. And basically all that Dr. Zacharias ended up telling these Mormons was that we still have significant differences.

According to Christianity Today Dr. Zacharias said that he “acknowledged there are doctrinal differences—including some that are deep—between traditional Christianity and the LDS faith” (Online source). Fuller Seminary president Dr. Richard Mouw was on hand as well and gave an introductory sermon. And I’m afraid the truth is that it will be Mouw and not Zacharias that the Mormons in attendance are going to remember.

According to that same Christianity Today article the LDS owned publication The Deseret Morning News pointed out that Dr. Mouw ended up offering:

a stunningly candid apology to members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and [noted] that ‘friendship has not come easily between our communities… I remain convinced there are serious issues of difference that are of eternal consequence, but now we can discuss them as friends’” (Ibid.).

And apologist James Spencer is so right when he says – “In today’s photo-op world, the fact that [Dr. Zacharias] mentioned that there were significant differences between Mormonism and Christianity made about as much impact as saying there are differences between Coke and Pepsi” (Through The Maze newsletter, 3/05, p.2). That’s all we have with an organization which began with their prophet saying that Jesus Christ personally told him that historic orthodox Christianity was “an abomination in his sight; that those professors were all corrupt;” and that:

“they draw near to me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me, they teach for doctrines the commandments of men, having a form of godliness, but they deny the power thereof” (Online source).

“Significant differences?” That’s all the Body of Christ has with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints–which officially teaches that God was once a man; that man can become God; that Satan is Jesus’ younger brother; and that God the Father literally had intimate relations with His own daughter Mary to conceive Christ’s physical body!

Have we now become so scared of our own shadow? The mighty Church militant is now so intimidated by our own culture that not only are the gates of Hell overcoming the evangelical Protestant church, it would even appear that we are walking right on in through those gates and attempting to fellowship with the very cultists we are supposed to try to lead out!

So Maybe The Reformers Had It All Wrong

Which is why it is incredulous to me that so many leading evangelical theologians and scholars would seem to be hiding behind such an innocuous statement as “significant differences.” Is that all we who dare call ourselves Protestants truly have–significant differences–with the long apostate Roman Catholic Church? Did Church Reformers like Hugh Latimer and Nicholas Ridley, who were burned alive at the stake by order of the Pontiff of the Church of Rome, give their very lives simply for “significant differences?”

You know, maybe we do need to rethink all of this. Could it actually be that those who were trying to reform the Roman Church from the inside had it all wrong in the first place? After all, the vast majority of them were all priests within the Church of Rome, as we need to remember at that time the Roman Catholic Church was the only church. So maybe they should have followed the example of Billy Graham, and his dealing with Rome.

Could it be that they should have just said:

“Well, you know, the Pope is truly a nice fellow; why, he even called me his brother. And the Holy Father does tell us that he’s the spiritual leader for all religions, who has done more for evangelism than anyone else. Oh yes, let’s make no mistake about it, we do have some ‘significant differences.’ And some of them are of a fairly serious nature. But for the sake of unity we had best just go on quietly teaching things the way we see them, and just let the rest of the Church of Rome continue to teach things the way they see it, and we’ll just let God sort it all out in the end.”

Men and women, this is exactly what your evangelical Protestant leaders are trying to get you to swallow. In the case of Hugh Latimer and Nicholas Ridley, however, history tells us that these dear brothers in Christ were arrested:

during the persecution of Reformers under Queen Mary, Latimer, along with Nicholas Ridley, was burned at the stake, in Oxford, on October 16, 1555. As the fires were lit, Latimer cried out to his companion, “Be of good comfort, Master Ridley, and play the man. We shall this day light such a candle by God’s grace in England as I trust shall never be put out!” (Online source)

I say shame on the modern evangelical movement that has been trying for years to actually put these flames out. Flames–which I will remind you – that were ultimately lit by, and then burned in, the power of the Holy Spirit. How can we ever forget that our dear brothers paid for their commitment to the purity of the Gospel of Jesus Christ with their very lives. They had to die just so that you could be sitting here right now with that Bible in your hands.

As a matter of fact, in his fine text book Christianity Through The Centuries Dr. Earle Cairns, who was professor of history at Wheaton College for 35 years, tells that:

[Queen] Mary…(also known as “Bloody Mary”) ruled from 1553 to 1558, was the daughter of Henry VIII… Her reign coincided with development of the Counter-Reformation in the Roman Church [in England]… Advised by Cardinal Reginald Pole, Mary, who was Roman Catholic to the core, forced Parliament to restore religious practices in England to what they were at the death of her father in 1547… About 800 of the English clergy refused to accept these changes and lost their parishes… Over 275,… were martyred for their faith. Chief among them were [Thomas] Cranmer, Hugh Latimer, and Nicholas Ridley (p.325).

But A Different Gospel Is Really No Gospel At All

We begin in our Bibles at Galatians, chapter 1, picking it up in verse 6. Let’s see what the Apostle Paul tells us here regarding the Gospel of Jesus Christ that he preached.

I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you by the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be etern-ally condemned! As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let him be eternally condemned.

Even a cursory reading of the Book of Acts will quickly show that Paul took the Gospel very seriously, and wanted to make sure that no one altered it in any way. The truth is the sooner we realize that just because someone uses the term “church” or calls themselves a “Christian,” it does not mean that they do truly represent the God of the Bible. Yes–it is sad, and it is unpleasant, but it is the world in which we now find ourselves living in. And if we have any hope of reaching some of these people around us for our Lord Jesus Christ we will have to ask Him to help us to awaken from the dream that we have been living in. The false dream that all men will live in peace here on earth and that all people are basically good. It is just not true. And truthfully, it never was.

Justification By Faith Alone In Jesus Christ

What I am encouraging us to do is to come back to the proper view of how the evangelical Protestant must approach this critical subject of the Church of Rome. A good place to start is for us to return to our look at the first chapter of Paul’s letter to the churches in the southern part of the Roman province of Galatia. We know it, of course, as the Book of Galatians. Those of you who use the NIV Study Bible have the benefit of a very good introduction to this Epistle, by Dr. Robert Mounce, who has worked on numerous translations of the Bible, and is President Emeritus of Whitworth College. He tells us:

Galatians stands as an eloquent and vigorous apologetic for the NT essential truth that man is justified by faith in Jesus Christ – by nothing less and nothing more – and that he is sanctified not by legalistic works but by the obedience that comes from faith in God’s work for him, in him and through him by the grace and power of Christ and the Holy Spirit (1985 ed., p.1779).

Let’s stop right here for a minute. What has just been said by Dr. Mounce, a noted evangelical biblical scholar, is exactly what we has been obscured within the delusion of the seeker sensitive Church Growth Movement, how can the sinner ever hope to be justified before God; in other words, how is a man saved from his debt of sin before a Holy and Righteous God? And clearly a debt requires a payment of some kind, does it not? For the wages of sin – which is the debt – is death – Romans 6:23. However you may recall, that Christ Jesus already paid that “wage” – that debt – with His own death.

And this is actually the heart of the matter with the false hope of the Church of Rome–the purity of God’s Gospel. That’s why Dr. Mounce can say – “Galatians stands as an eloquent and vigorous apologetic for the essential NT truth that man is justified by faith in Jesus Christ – by nothing less and nothing more.” It is truly such a shame, and a travesty of God’s justice, that this has been allowed to slowly erode over the nearly 500 years since an Augustinian Monk named Martin Luther nailed those 95 Theses Of Religion upon the door of Castle Church Chapel at Wittenberg. Theses, which essentially said – “We protest” – and became the very document that would end up igniting the whole Protestant Reformation.

What Is At Stake

Men and women; it is vital that we come to fully understand what is at stake here. For we need to get this truth from our head down into our very hearts. Dr. Mounce is reminding us of this truth when he says – “Galatians stands as an eloquent and vigorous apologetic for the essential NT truth that man is justified by faith in Jesus Christ – by nothing less and nothing more.” And we state this more concisely by saying man is justified by the grace of God alone – through faith alone – in Christ alone. And this is the absolute truth and glorious hope of the Gospel, that even while mankind still considered God Himself as our enemy, by His own grace through obedience to God the Father alone, Jesus Christ of Nazareth died alone to atone for the sins of man.

It’s so hard for many to see it because we live in such time of tepid indifference within the Evangelical community today, but what I am trying to help you understand that Christ’s Church won’t even at least boldly stand for the actual Gospel itself! Be that as it may, the true doctrine of salvation is unequivocally by God’s grace alone – through faith alone – in Christ alone as the Bible literally says:

The words “it was credited to him” – [speaking of Abraham] – were written not for him alone, but also for us, to whom God will credit righteousness—for us who believe in him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead. He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification (Romans 4:23-25).

You know, it really couldn’t be any clearer. Well, on second thought, actually it could be. We need only look a little further into the book of Romans. We go to chapter 5 and begin with verse 1. Let’s see if together we can piece together the apparent “mystery” behind these two verses of Holy Scripture we are going to read here in Romans 5. Maybe together we can discover what seems to be so difficult for so many evangelical Protestant scholars to understand here in verses one and two:

Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God (emphasis added).

As you can see, one not need be a graduate of Oxford University with a degree in navel contemplating to figure this out. Well, Pope Benedict, at least you’d see it if you’re humble enough to turn in your funny hat, divest yourself of your priestly robes and truly follow the Christ that you say you are representing. After all, Jesus of Nazareth did say – Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls (Matthew 11:29). And remember the Master also said – Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth (Matthew 5:5).

Rediscovering The Basic Message Of Galatians

Now we are ready to finish up what Dr. Mounce was telling us earlier about the book of Galatians.

It was the rediscovery of the basic message of Galatians–[which is salvation through faith]–that brought about the Reformation. Galatians is often referred to as “Luther’s book,” because Martin Luther relied so strongly on this letter in his writings and arguments against the prevailing theology of his day. A key verse is 2:16 (NIV Study, op. cit., p.177).

We turn there now to Galatians chapter 2 picking it up in verse 16 and you will see very clearly yet another verse of Scripture that couldn’t be more plain regarding how man is justified before our Holy God. Galatians 2:16 – Know that a man is not justified by observing the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by observing the law, because by observing the law no one will be justified.

Again you will see a comment by our friend Dr. Mounce will prove quite helpful here. He points out that – “Three times it tells us that no one is justified by observing the law” – [or any “traditions” of men for that matter] – “no one is justified by observing the law, and three times [this verse] underscores the indispensable requirement of placing one’s faith in Christ” (ibid., p.1783).

Dr. Donald Campbell, President Emeritus of Dallas Theological Seminary, brings out another critical point in his commentary on Galatians 2:16:

In this verse, one of the most important in the epistle, the word justified occurs for the first time. It is a legal term, borrowed from the law courts and means “to declare righteous.” Its opposite is “to condemn.” But since people are condemned sinners and God is holy, how can people be justified? In answer, the apostle made a general declaration that negatively man is not justified by observing the law, but positively, justification is by faith in Jesus Christ. This is a strong affirmation of Paul, Peter, and the rest – introduced by the We . . .know… Finally, in verse 16c the apostle reaffirmed that justification is by faith and not by works (cf. Gen, 15:6) (The Bible Knowledge Commentary, NT, p.595, emphasis in original).

What I have been endeavoring to get us to look at here is whether or not anything has really changed regarding the importance of our proclaiming the pure Gospel of Jesus Christ. We’ve been using a passage in Galatians 1 – beginning with verse 6 – as we have been bringing this all together. We read it as we began, and it will be helpful to go back through it one more time with the new information we have just learned here.

The False Hope Of Adding To The Gospel

As we go back through the text in Galatians 1 our focus will be slightly different this time, as we want to carefully look at how Paul reacted to those who added to, and thereby specifically changed–even slightly–the Gospel that he preached. For example, let’s consider this little bit of “addition” to the Gospel from Nostra Aetate “the Declaration on the Relation of the [Roman Catholic] Church to Non-Christian Religions – which was Proclaimed by His Holiness Pope Paul VI – October 28, 1965”

3. The [Roman Catholic] Church regards with esteem also the Moslems. They adore the one God, living and subsisting in Himself; merciful and all-powerful, the Creator of heaven and earth, (5) who has spoken to men; they take pains to submit wholeheartedly to even His inscrutable decrees, just as Abraham, with whom the faith of Islam takes pleasure in linking itself, submitted to God. Though they do not acknowledge Jesus as God, they revere Him as a prophet. They also honor Mary, His virgin Mother; at times they even call on her with devotion. In addition, they await the day of judgment when God will render their deserts to all those who have been raised up from the dead. Finally, they value the moral life and worship God especially through prayer, almsgiving and fasting (transcript on file).

Or how about this from the current edition of the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

841 The Church’s relationship with the Muslims. “The plan of salvation also includes those who acknowledge the Creator, in the first place amongst whom are the Muslims; these profess to hold the faith of Abraham, and together with us they adore the one, merciful God, mankind’s judge on the last day.” (Online source, emphasis added)

Now we must ask, does this sound like the true Gospel? Or is it in reality a capitulation in order to be careful not to upset anyone? Is this tripe issued from so-called Vicars of Christ even remotely similar to a bold stand for God like the Master’s willingness to be found among those who are persecuted because of righteousness (see-Matthew 5:10), or is it actually trying to live in “peace” at the expense of the truth? Men and women we need to help people see that words like these could never have been uttered by a true Vicar of Christ.

Allah Is Not The God Of The Bible

Let me give you a little background concerning the world religion of Islam that the Roman Catholic Church esteems and further claims that “together with us they adore the one, merciful God.” The founder of the Islamic religion, Muhammad, was born around 570 AD in Mecca. Islam means “submission” to God, while Muslim, taken from the verbal root of the same Arabic word, designates “those who submit.” According to the Islamic version of his history, sometime after his 25th birthday while Muhammad was “praying and meditating” on Mt. Hira he heard a voice tell him to “proclaim.” Later the voice told him “Thou art the messenger of God, and I am Gabriel.”

Ira G. Zepp, Jr. tells us in his book Islam, “…over a period of twenty-three years, up until his death in 632, Allah [God], through the angel Gabriel, communicated the words of the Quran to Muhammad.” The Encyclopedia Britannica says: “The will of Allah, to which man must submit, is made known through the sacred scriptures, the Qu’ran (Koran), which Allah revealed to his messenger, Muhammad. In Islam Muhammad is considered the last of a series of prophets (including Adam, Noah, Jesus and others), and his message simultaneously consummates and abrogates the ‘revelations’ attributed to earlier prophets.”

The Quran, is the highest source of authority for the Muslim and is considered to be the pure word of God, with no human thoughts or errors within it. On The True Religion, an Internet website devoted to Islam, Dr. Gary Miller, a former Christian missionary with a Masters Degree in Theology who converted to Islam, states the Muslim position on the Bible. In his article A Concise Reply To Christianity – A Muslim View, Miller writes: “…the Quran states that Christians have access to the truth in their scriptures. But it does not catalogue the sixty-six small books called the Bible and label them as accurate. In fact it condemns those who would claim divine inspiration for something composed by a man…part of the Bible…falls into this category…the Muslim considers that the Bible contains the words of God, and more words besides these.”

While Islam does teach the existence of just one God (Quran 5:73; 112:1-4), Allah is so transcendent, incomprehensible and unapproachable, that it could not possibly be the true God of biblical revelation, Who shows Himself to befriend men (Exodus 33:11), to be merciful to them because He loves them (Romans 5:5-8), and, in the doctrine of the Trinity, He reveals Himself as God the Father, God the Son–Jesus the Christ, and God the Holy Spirit (Deuteronomy 6:4; 2 Peter 1:17; John 1:1,14; Acts 5:3-4; 2 Corinthians 13:14). In fact, the Quran admits that Allah is not the God of the Bible in 5:73-75 where it states, They do blaspheme who say: God is one in three in a Trinity: for there is no god except one.

And finally, the Quran portrays a different Jesus from the one we meet in the Bible. It says Jesus was not crucified (4:157), is not deity (5:17, 75), nor is He God the Son (9:30). The Quran does call Jesus a great prophet but, as Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry points out, Islam teaches that “Muhammad is Allah’s greatest and last prophet and his message supercedes all other past prophets including Jesus.” This stands in stark contrast to what Jesus of Nazareth taught, and to what the historical accounts of His life in the New Testament tell us (adapted from Keeping You Apprised of Islam).

I must ask again, does this sound like a religion that adores “the one God?” And while we should never be hostile to individual Muslims the true katholikos Church of Christ must vigorously oppose the blasphemous religion of Islam–who in fact–denies the one God. And no true Vicar of Christ would ever consider himself part of a relgion that blatantly denies the Deity of the Lord Who bought him.

A Different Gospel

And if one should need further proof you need only return to the Book of Galatians, chapter 1. Before we run through this passage of Scripture quickly one last time, let me share this from F. Roy Coad in the New International Bible Commentary.

Something of the teaching which was brought by the Judaizing teachers to Galatia can be learned from later references in the letter. It accepted the Messiahship of Jesus, but added another requirement to that of faith in Christ: acceptance of the Jewish obedience, particularly as symbolized in circumcision and the keeping of the ethical and ceremonial law (Ac. 15:1; Gal. 3:2, 10; 4:10, 21; 5:2; 6:12, 13) (pp.1417,1418).

Galatians 1:6 – I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the One Who called you by the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel. And those of us like myself who are former Roman Catholics know firsthand that the apostate Church of Rome does indeed teach a gospel of works/self-righteousness. I’ll go through their sacramental system in more detail another time, but for now, here is something from the Code Of Canon Law of the Roman Catholic Church:

A person who has not received baptism cannot be admitted validly to the other sacraments. The sacraments of baptism, confirmation, and the Most Holy Eucharist are interrelated in such a way that they are required for full Christian initiation” (Online source, emphasis added).

Now, here is what Luther himself had to say about this verse 6 of Galatians 1:

Note the resourcefulness of the devil. Heretics do not advertise their errors. Murderers, adulterers, thieves disguise themselves. So the devil masquerades all his devices and activities. He puts on white to make himself look like an angel of light. He is astoundingly clever to sell his patent poison for the Gospel of Christ. Knowing Satan’s guile, Paul sardonically calls the doctrine of the false apostles “another gospel,” as if he would say, “You Galatians have now another gospel, while my Gospel is no longer esteemed by you (Online source).

And we know that what was being taught in Galatia by these Judaizers was not really another gospel in that it had any real power. Look at verse 7 again here in Galatians – which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than we – [the Apostles] – preached, let him be eternally condemned. In the original Greek – this is that word anathema – that the Council of Trent was so fond of using, and essentially means “accursed from God.”

The great Church Reformer Dr. John Calvin also points out here:

As [Paul] proceeds in defending the authority of his doctrine, his confidence swells. First of all, he declares that the doctrine which he had preached is the only gospel, and that the attempt to set it aside is highly criminal. But then he was aware, the false apostles might object: “We will not yield to you in our desire to maintain the gospel, or in those feelings of respect for it which we are accustomed to cherish.” Just as, at the present day, the Papists describe in the strongest terms the sacredness with which they regard the gospel, and kiss the very name with the deepest reverence, and yet, when brought to the trial, are found to persecute fiercely the pure and simple doctrine of the gospel. Accordingly, Paul does not rest satisfied with this general declaration, but proceeds to define what the gospel is, and what it contains, and declares boldly that his doctrine is the true gospel; so as to resist all further inquiry.

Of what avail was it to profess respect for the gospel, and not to know what it meant? With Papists, who hold themselves bound to render implicit faith, that might be perfectly sufficient; but with Christians, where there is no knowledge, there is no faith. That the Galatians, who were otherwise disposed to obey the gospel, might not wander hither and thither, and “find no rest for the sole of their foot,” (Genesis 8:9,) Paul enjoins them to stand steadfastly by his doctrine. He demands such unhesitating belief of his preaching, that he pronounces a curse on all who dared to contradict it” (Online source).

And then, in verse 9, Paul will repeat his anathema for anyone who has the temerity to alter the Gospel Christ Jesus gave to him. As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let him be eternally condemned! As I have already shared with you, the proclamation of the pure Gospel of our Lord is so important and so critical that the Apostle Paul felt constrained to repeat his stern rebuke. Let us never forget that God the Holy Spirit takes His Gospel of Jesus Christ so seriously that He saw to it that this warning was preserved in Holy Scripture.

And A False Hope Is Really No Hope At All

However, somehow today all of this has been simply reduced to “significant differences.” And that is what is so disconcerting. But this is what the Church of Jesus Christ, the Evangelical Protestant church must come to grips with. How could we reduce this Gospel that man is saved by God’s grace alone–through faith alone–in Christ alone–simply to “significant differences?” If the Apostle Paul was willing to eternally condemn anyone who preached something different, and if the Reformers were willing to die for their proclamation of this same Gospel, then what in the world has happened to us today?

The truth is summed up in this one word–compromise. We have decided that God “understands” that we don’t want to offend anyone. After all we say: If we upset someone, why they might not believe the Gospel. That’s of course if we even get around to preaching it to them. In actuality though what we are really saying is – “I’m afraid to make someone angry with me.” Which all of us can understand. No one likes to have people angry with them. However, sometimes this is exactly what they need to stimulate their thought process. As in: That person made me so angry I’m going too prove them wrong! And, I’ll have you know that not a few people have come into the Kingdom of God via that route.

Let me bring this all together. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is simply not negotiable. Our Lord did what He did, and said what He said, and He does not change, no matter what culture we find ourselves in. This is the truth. Regardless of what the Rick Warrens and the Brian McLarens say we just do not have the luxury of “adapting” the Gospel message to the culture in which we find ourselves. And while we never want to be offensive in how we are presenting this one way in which men can be saved – we are admonished in Scripture – For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God (1 Corinthians 1:18).

In the end, our job is to tell people the truth, and then to leave the reaction to our presentation of the Gospel–and the results–to the Person of God the Holy Spirit. Which is really not such a bad thing after all when you really think about it. For it is God’s Gospel, Christ did the work, and the Holy Spirit is to convict and empower. Men and women, we are but our Lord’s messengers. However, those that preach any other gospel than the one preached by Paul and the other Apostles–even if it is remarkably similar–are not really preaching any gospel at all. So by now you should be able to see–what’s at stake here is a whole lot more than mere “significant differences.”

For when all is said and done, it’s either justification by God’s grace alone – through faith alone – in Christ alone – or it is no gospel at all. While “close” may count in horseshoes, it sure has no place in spiritual matters where the Gospel is all – or nothing at all. And this must never be compromised in any way–or for any one–no matter how noble and religious that person may appear. The absolute truth is, for those of us who are Christ’s ambassadors to tell the world anything else is to hold out a false hope–which is really no hope at all.