Internationally renowned author and theologian R.T. Kendall sounds a wake-up call for churches across the globe. In his book Whatever Happened to the Gospel? (Feb. 6, 2018), Kendall sets out to correct what most Christians believe to be "the gospel."
"If you are like me, you will be surprised to learn that the question 'Whatever happened to the gospel?' became relevant before the end of the first century of Christianity—even while the apostle John was still alive. However, it is sad but true that few were asking that question then....Two thousand years later, the question becomes more relevant than ever," Kendall says.
Christians are familiar with the "prosperity gospel," the "name it and claim it gospel," the "political gospel" and the messages being preached on at least 90 percent of religious television. But what about the gospel of Jesus Christ? In our church sanctuaries, pastors neglect to preach the fear of God and eternal punishment. Church communities have grown to believe that all are saved and none will be lost, devaluing what Jesus Christ did on the cross.
Meanwhile, many other Christians lack assurance of their own salvation and focus on sanctification as their only ticket to heaven. Kendall points to Puritan teaching, which raised the question 'How do you know you have true faith?'
"People were back to square one. ... No one knew for sure that he or she had true faith. People were told to look for proofs of faith—loving God's Word; loving the Sabbath; showing 'universal obedience,' as in keeping all of the Ten Commandments; loving God's ministers and turning away from every known sin," Kendall writes, acknowledging a different form of spiritual bondage.
Whatever Happened to the Gospel? shows how these false conceptions of what the Bible teaches rob the gospel of its uniqueness. They ignore what was historically introduced by Jesus, filled out by the apostle Paul and articulated by the 16th-century Reformers. The gospel has been brushed to one side, and evidence of this is seen in how churches are misleading and even mistreating people.
Kendall says it's time to bring back what it really means to be saved. Whatever Happened to the Gospel? reacquaints readers with the gospel and seeks to reignite a passion in their hearts to know more of God.
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