Monday, July 16, 2007

Is John's Gospel Enough?

Have you ever put off writing something you just knew had to be written? Knowing, not just believing, that there are more qualified, more intelligent, more eloquent and fluent writers who have much more right to take up the 102 or so daggers under every blogger's finger tips than you do – have you ever?

I find myself no longer able to hold back. Still it's my hope that, when all is typed the sum total will not be of my voice at all.

A new mantra is sounding in Christendom. And it goes something like this - “Jesus is the guaranteer of Eternal Life and that is what one must believe to be saved. John's Gospel is the end-all be-all for evangelism. The Gospel is not needed for Salvation, the presentation of the Gospel is merely a build up for the invitation or offer to believe in Jesus.”

I'm not one to enjoy employing “Straw-man Arguments” so I will attempt to refrain from stating anyone's purposes or argument. You can read some of what I am responding to here. My intention is not to bring about shame, or to even make accusation. Even if any be warranted. What's more, I am NOT writing this to bring about debate. And here is why.

You need not submit to Truth, it is True so with submission or not it applies to you. You can not argue with Truth, it is absolute. Truth does not consider any argument or thought against it. Truth is simply True. No ifs, ands, or buts about it.

I contend that the Evangelist & Apostle John, author of the Gospel of John, did explain we must believe the Gospel, not simply that Jesus is able to give Eternal Life. So, I intend on answering this new doctrine completely from John's Gospel. I also contend that if one seeks after God that this same one will find Him. That if one obeys the light given, that same one will be given more light. I agree with God that ALL scripture is needed to furnish the man of God unto all Good Works. That anyone who limits himself to one portion of Scripture for knowledge of ANY purpose is mistaken. Even I as I have written this all from John, is actually done from my fleshy pride. That I would not really on the full length of the Sword just so I can prove a point...

Preachers of this new mantra use John 20:31 as their evidence supreme. Stating that it indicates the Gospel of John “precisely and specifically expresses the terms for receiving eternal life”.

John 20:31 - but these are written that ye may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing ye might have life in his name.

When I read this verse I see that it lays out the Gospel. Yet when it is quoted in the referenced post above it is done so like this -

"...and that believing ye might have life through his name" (John 20:31)

With nearly 2/3rds of the verse omitted. Might this be connected to the fact that the man was arguing that you need not believe that Jesus is The Christ, and the Son of God to be saved. Yet even in the very verse used to proclaim this new doctrine as biblical, it is seen to be in violation of Scripture.

That Jesus is “The” Christ – The Anointed One of God. John had already explained this in John 1:29-33. The Lamb of God who takes away the Sin of the World anointed with the Holy Spirit.

That Jesus is the Son of God – or God's equal, God Himself. John 1:1, John 10:36-38.

Now we read in John these few titles for Jesus - The Christ, and the Son of God, the Lamb of God, the only begotten Son of God, the Son of Man, the Bread of Life... there are many, these are but a few.

We see that Jesus is the Anointed one who is the Lamb of God, and that He “is” the Son of God. If you can read more than a single verse you know that this the Gospel. Jesus, a man, God Himself, therefore sinless, died for our sins as the Lamb that takes away the sin of the World, and rose again because He IS alive and IS the Son of God.

It takes no reading into the text to see this. Any student of the Word will see the Gospel written out in that one verse. John 20:31.But to continue with my contention that the Gospel of John does require the sinner to believe the Gospel to be saved I offer the following.

John 3 is Jesus explanation of the Gospel to Nicodemus. Nicodemus wants to know how you get saved. Jesus tells him one must be “born again” that is to be born not only of water (flesh birth) but also of the Spirit. This just confuses Nicodemus – and if you've ever witnessed you know that Nicodemus is not alone in being confused about it. I make argument that those who believe salvation comes without belief in the Gospel continue to be confused about it.

Jesus, rebukes the man for being a poor student, then explains how rebirth happens in a way that Nicodemus ought to understand. He uses a foreshadow of Himself on the Cross. John 3:12-16

Jesus tells him these are Heavenly things – v12, the Son of Man is from Heaven and can descend from it and rise to it v 13, as Moses lifted up the serpent on a staff in the wilderness so must the Son of Man be lifted up – Moses had to lift that serpent up because of the sins of Israel so that any who would look at the serpent on the staff would be saved – and Jesus says this is the same way He must be lifted up v 14, He was “given” so that anyone who believes on Him would have eternal life. v15-16

The Israelites who didn't look at the serpent lifted up on Moses' staff perished – no matter if they believed “in” the serpent or not. They did not see their sin lifted up – judged.

John 6 is also very clear. John 6:48-58. Jesus spoke of giving His flesh for them to have life if they believe in Him – eat His flesh and drink His blood. He out rights states this in John 6:53 -

Jesus therefore said to them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Unless ye shall have eaten the flesh of the Son of man, and drunk his blood, ye have no life in yourselves.

Unless you have eaten His flesh, and drunk His blood you have no life – let alone life eternal. Without the Gospel there is NO salvation.

The Gospel is that Jesus, the Lamb of God, God Himself, a flesh and blood man, was born of a virgin, lived a sinless life, willingly went to the Cross to die for our sins, and rose again on the third day after and if you believe that He did these things for you and your sins, then you are saved eternally.

All of this is from the Gospel of John. As I started this, I believed I would have to explain the different dispensations, how trusting, or putting your faith in God has ALWAYS been the way of Salvation, that Salvation has ALWAYS been based on the Crucifixion and Resurrection of Christ that what God had said before was not complete for this Dispensation but that it was for those because the requirement is that we believe Him. I was going to go into Proverbs to show that the principle of self-judgment before salvation (of any kind) has always been in place and is so even today. I was going to go through Paul's epistles to show that he always preached the same Gospel and always claimed it had the same effect.

I had thought of appealing to the Apostle John's other writings to show how Jesus' worthiness as the Kinsman Redeemer is not being judged, assessed or even tested today – not by us or anyone but how that day is coming.

I also had intended on addressing the straw-man argument about what Judgment might look like for someone who believed a that “Jesus gives eternal life”.

But by God's will and provision, none of my efforts were required. Simply a quick dirty read through the Gospel of John shows that the Gospel is what is needed to be believed for salvation. In this the Gospel of John is sufficient and provides truth which is not found by trying to disprove what the rest of Scripture says.

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Lou Martuneac said...


Thanks for posting this article.

I have questioned the advocates of what has come to be known as the "Crossless" gospel a question about John's Gospel in relation to the rest of the NT.

From what I can tell, and have asked them about is that, it appears they view the Gospel of John is such a way that it trumps the rest of Scripture on the biblcial plan of salvation.


Kevl said...

I'm looking forward to your promised next article on the "crossless" gospel.

I going to post what I consider to be a "proper" Gospel invitation. The link I have on the left is LONG and not at all what I would suggest as a proper presentation.

I'm going to take a page out of the training module on presenting it.

Thanks for checking in!