The word “Gospel” means “good news”. The good news is that there is a solution to our sin problem and a way to be reconciled to God. Simply stated, the gospel is the way to be saved (1Cor 15.1-2); it is the fact that Christ died for our sins and was raised for our justification (Rom 4.25).
Different groups put forth different gospels. The Bible says there is only one gospel; the others are false gospels or, in an ironic twist, actually aren’t gospels. This makes sense since a false gospel isn’t good news! A lie is very bad news especially when a person is staking his eternal destiny upon it.
We will compare three “gospels.”
Three Gospels Summarized
|Man is lost in sin and follows his sinful desires. He is totally unable to reform himself. In fact, apart from the special grace of God he has no desire to reform himself. He may desire to lessen the consequences of his sin (he’ll refrain from shooting his neighbor because he doesn’t want to go to jail, he’ll refrain from shouting at his wife to lessen the risk that she’ll leave him and demand alimony) but he does not want to forsake his sin to please God. This only happens when God selectively and effectively operates in a man’s life persuading and enabling him to embrace Christ, repent of his sin, and live a new life. (These three facts are elaborated elsewhere under the heading of Faith, Repentance, and Good Works.)
Romans 3.10-12; 8.7; Colossians 1.21
|Perhaps the most familiar motto to capture the idea is “pull yourself up by the bootstraps.” Man may be born in poverty or have bullys at school but those hindrances are to be overcome because this is the land of opportunity. Each man can excel and succeed by working hard. Of course this doesn’t mean you aggressively push aside your neighbor as you climb to the top. Social ethics come into play: don’t kill, be generous, love your wife, etc.
Also, for those who truly lack opportunity, society must provide access to opportunity so people of less privilege can work hard and excel.
|‘The gospel is our Heavenly Father’s plan of happiness.’ (LDS.org)
A combination of Jesus Christ’s atonement plus water baptism, laying on of hands to receive the Holy Ghost, temple endowment, temple marriage, loving God with all your heart, faith in Jesus, chastity, repentance, tithing, honesty, obeying the Word of Wisdom, obeying the Mormon prophets, charity, etc. and keeping all of the Lord’s commandments until the end of your life (see Gospel Principles, LDS p. 291-292).
‘The gospel is a program of action—of doing things’ (Miracle of Forgiveness, Kimball, p. 208).
‘The Mormon gospel embraces all the laws, principles, doctrines, rites, ordinances, acts, powers, authorities, and keys necessary to save and exalt men in the celestial heaven’ (Mormon Doctrine, McConkie, p. 331).
Three Gospels Compared
|Different placement of works||they come after the gift of eternal life which is purchased solely through Christ’s work. Man’s works add nothing to Christ’s work. 1Peter 2.9; 1John 2.3,5||they are the be all and end all.||they are what makes good on the opportunity provided by Christ’s atonement.|
|Different concept of man’s goodness||man has no good in him so his own effort is for naught. Matthew 15.19; Romans 7.18||man is ok, he just needs hard work and opportunity to apply himself.||given the right opportunity any man can do the right things and gain eternal life.|
|Different concept of Christ’s work||it definitively achieves eternal life for everyone to whom it is applied. Hebrews 9.12,15; John 6.37,39||it doesn’t factor in.||it restores man to a position where he can now work his way to eternal life.|
|Different source of ethical principles||the Bible is the sole rule for life and faith. Proverbs 22.19-21; 2Peter 1.19||the collective social conscience determines the principles.||Mormon authorities are the rule, including their sacred texts and living prophet.|
|Different results||every one of the sheep/all the freewoman’s children attain eternal life. John 10.27-28, Galatians 4.21-31||no one gains eternal life because no one is looking for a Savior.||no one gains eternal life because no one can perfectly keep all the covenants and ordinances.|
It all boils down to our source for truth, suffice it to say the Bible clearly teaches man is lost in sin, he needs a Savior, the Savior Jesus Christ actually saves people (doesn’t just make it possible for them to save themselves), and good works are only done by the redeemed sinner.
When we go by the truth of the Bible it is easy to identify which gospel is true and which others are false. The Christian gospel is Good News because it correctly identifies the problem—sin—and correctly identifies the solution—Jesus Christ alone. The American and Mormon gospels “are not a gospel at all” (Gal 1.6-7) because they aren’t good news! They either deny the problem (American) or mistake the solution (Mormon) which amounts to telling a lame man who is inside a burning building, “Don’t worry, the smoke and flames wont hurt you.” Or “Use that glass of water in front of you and put out the fire.”
We beseech you to turn to the Christ Who Saves; only he can satisfy your thirst and give you rest. That is “good news” indeed! Contact us so we can help you along the way.