There are wheat and weed gospels.
The Gospel of Jesus Christ is non-negotiable. There are no legitimate proprietary gospels and no valid variation on the Gospel of Jesus and the apostles. The real Gospel is found in the person and teaching of Jesus and specifically the writing of Paul and John. Matthew spoke of ‘This Gospel of the Kingdom.’ Paul spoke of ‘My Gospel’ when he spoke as an exponent of the achievements of Christ. Mark encouraged people to preach ‘This Gospel in all the world’ and ‘People believed when Philip preached the good news of the Gospel of the Kingdom of God. Paul warned that there is no other gospel, even if a prophetic person should speak it and Jesus warned that altered gospels preached in His name were not wheat but weeds.
Thomas Torrance following Barth was convinced that we are not at liberty to make stuff up and that the Gospel of Christ is never the product of diverse teachers or the slant of denominations. The Gospel of the Kingdom is what God, through the scriptures and the Spirit, says it is: ‘Christ in you the hope of glory.
Bruce Ritchie observes that, Karl Barth was “
A man convinced that the central task of theology does not in fact consist in examining human thoughts about
God. Nor does it consist in examining the religious consciousness.
Nor does it consist in connecting the spirit of a culture with the Spirit
of God. Nor has it to do with finding God through a culture which
supposedly reflects the impress of the divine Spirit. Instead, the central task of theology is in listening to God's Word concerning God and
humanity. In a lecture delivered in 1916, Barth stated, "It is not the
right human thoughts about God which form the content of the Bible,
In the Body of Christ, we may differ over things like sprinkling or water baptism or whether we meet in a cathedral, hall or café, but
we have no right to construct our own gospel or bend it out of shape until it is ‘no gospel at all’ - which is what we do if we re-introduce the law and invent a christ who supervises the law. Such a contention is absurd because it assumes that Christ gets to supervise a post cross version of the knowledge of good and evil.
Denominations are not at liberty to invent of purvey proprietary gospels and at the same time claim to be Christian. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is the Gospel of Jesus, Paul and John. Never a post-cross concoction of law revived, Adam resurrected, and Jesus subordinated to the law and the knowledge of good and evil. ‘Gospels’ based on law are sad. ‘Gospels’ based on fraud are bad.
Barth was impatient about specious relativism. “
Barth went far beyond, the view that theology is the science which systematizes the doctrines prevalent in the Christian Church at any one time.” (2) He offended many of his contemporaries by disagreeing that the insights of highly developed human culture could serve as a basis for sound theology. Barth would appear to have been right when it was this ‘developed culture’ that produced the First World War and paved the way for the Second. What would he say about the kind of Christianity that emboldens prime ministers as liars or assists Donald Trump to become president of the United States?
(1) Ritchie, Bruce. T. F. Torrance in Recollection and Reappraisal (p. 56). Pickwick Publications. Kindle Edition.
(2) Ibid p. 56.
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