“You spoke differently from everything I was taught, but thank God, I opened my Bible and was astonished to see with my own eyes that you were right.”
A critic labeled Christ’s own Gospel “a strange Gospel.” Indeed it was strange to him, and this man professed to be a religious person!
Do you know why it sounds strange to some? The answer is an almost incredible, shocking surprise! It is recorded that when Christ Himself proclaimed this same Gospel, the people “were astonished at His doctrine.” When the Apostle Paul came to Athens with this same Gospel, the founders of much that is called “Christianity” today called him a “setter forth of strange gods” – “for” they said, “thou bringest certain strange things to our ears” (Acts 17:18, 20).
Well, here is an astonishing surprise! It may be hard to believe, but it’s true! You probably have had the same experience – from infancy my parents, upright, sincere Christian-professing people, took me to church and Sunday school. Our family belonged to a respected Protestant denomination. I did not know specifically what definite doctrines our denomination believed. There are, of course, differences in the various denominational doctrines. Yet most churchgoers do not know much about what these differences are.
Yet I did always hear – as you probably have – certain basic religious foundations: going to heaven, the immortality of the soul, our dead loved ones being now “in heaven with the Lord”; the wicked dead living forever in a burning hell; church members being already “born again” and “saved”; the Christian obligation to celebrate Christmas, New Year’s, Easter, Valentine’s day, Hallowe’en, and attendance at church on Sunday.
Regardless of other doctrinal differences. It seems virtually all fundamentalist evangelical and professing Bible-believing denominations teach these things.
Of course, we have always heard these things preached from earliest memory. It never occurred that every one of these teachings were always assumed, but never read, expounded, or proved out of the Bible! Naturally all of us assumed that these teachings were foundational, basic teachings and commands of the Bible.
For the most part, you, like most people, never really studied the Bible, and it never occurred that the pastors of your respected churches never preached their sermons out of the Bible – that they merely read one verse, or even part of one verse, containing a word which was the subject of the sermon, and then closed the Bible and preached on the subject of that one word. It never occurred to most people that Christ Himself set the example for ministers of literally preaching God’s Word, preaching directly out of the Bible, and expounding it with other Scriptures on the same subject – and all in their proper context.
The shocking realization is that in what is called the Christian religion today, its exponents and leaders – in fundamental orthodoxy – take for granted – carelessly assume - many, if not most, of the basic beliefs and practices – talk about them continually as if they were true, never reading these things out of the Bible, never proving them by the Bible – always simply reading a verse or a sentence or part of one here and there about other things out of the Bible!
Yes, it is hard to believe, but it is true!
Now take your own case. You haven’t realized this, probably. Yet all your life you have heard religious leaders, preachers, professing Christians, talk about “going to heaven” – assuming it to be the place where the “saved” go. But stop and think! Have you, actually, ever heard this read out of the Bible!
Have you ever heard, in a church service – or read in a book or magazine or religious tract or piece of literature – a statement quoted out of the Bible stating directly, plainly, clearly, that any “saved” person actually did go to heaven – that is, the heaven of God’s throne – or that if one is “saved” a plain, clear promise that he shall go to heaven?
You have not!
You may think you have. You have heard people talk about “going to heaven” ever since you can remember. You have heard it assumed, as if the Bible taught it. So, naturally, since the Christian religion is supposed to come out of the Bible, you have taken for granted without question that the teaching of going to heaven came out of the Bible. But you never read it in the Bible!
You never heard a sermon proving, by plain literal Bible statements and promises, that any dead human (except Christ) or saint ever did go to heaven. Jesus Christ said plainly that no man had ever ascended up to heaven (John 3:13). Read it in your Bible! The inspired Peter said David had not gone to heaven, but was buried in his grave (Acts 2:29, 34) and yet the Bible clearly says David shall be in God’s Kingdom.
The Bible says plainly the “saved” shall inherit the earth in clear language, Ps. 37 – that they shall not be removed from it (Prov. 10:30). If we are Christ’s we are heirs to the promises God made to Abraham. What God promised Abraham and his children through Christ is this earth for an everlasting possession – Genesis 12 through 22. Also see Romans 4:13. This promise is in plain language. It is stated again and again and again. It is not nullified, refuted, contradicted, by interpretations of John’s visions.
Jesus Christ said there would be many false prophets, not a few. The Bible says all nations have been deceived. Jude says people have gotten away from the truth originally delivered through Christ and the true apostles.
Most people have no idea whatever of how, generation after generation, when people reared as pagans began to profess Christ, they held on to some of their pagan teachings and customs. One generation brought a few of them into accepted Christianity. Another generation added a few more. Gradually, down through the centuries, “Christianity” became more and more paganized. People accept and believe what they find everybody else around them believes! And so people have come to accept, and to practice, teachings and customs diametrically contrary to those taught in the Bible – all the while supposing they came out of the Bible!
So it is that when someone comes along with something different than that which is popular and almost universally accepted by people, even though it be truth, even though it came out of the Bible – it sounds strange – it appears fanatical!
It is in our human nature to be conformists. We seem to want to go along. We want to belong, that is, to human groups. It does not seem to occur to us to ask ourselves: “What will God think?” – if we accept a different belief, or a different custom. Vanity makes us want to be well thought of by the people – that is, the particular group, society, church, club, or those we look up to and want to get in with.
So, immediately, if Christ’s own truth runs counter to their ideas, practices, or beliefs, we find automatically a great wall of prejudice looming up as a barrier against the truth. We resist it! We resent it. We become angry at it or those who bring it to us.
In a debate the general idea is to refute everything the “worthy opponents” say. Scarcely ever does a debater or a debating team honestly consider and weight whether his “honorable opponent” is right. The opponent must be proven wrong, by hook or crook, no matter whether he is right! The idea is to defeat him and win the debate! It is not a search for truth. In the past God’s Church has been challenged to debate Bible truth – but the Church has refused, first, because the Bible itself forbids debate and commands us not to get into such disputes and engender strife, and second, because the challenger, we known, would never have an open mind but would be bent only on resisting, denying, disproving every truth we might advance, and discrediting the church, and imputing evil motives, in addition.
When Jesus came teaching God’s truth – with the Great Message from God to mankind – He came to a people steeped in beliefs and customs diametrically contrary to His truth. They had been brought up in their teachings and customs from babyhood. His message was strange to them. Actually, it was their beliefs and ways that were strange, but of course they didn’t seem strange to the people.
Whatever is different from that to which we are accustomed seems strange! We tend to resent and resist it! Yes, it is recorded that the people were astonished at Christ’s doctrine.
Today, the Church of God New World Ministries teaches and preaches His same doctrine- we literally preach the Word of God, as Christ taught it, – and today people are astonished – shocked! Yes, we too, true members of God’s Church, were astonished and shocked when we learned the truth of what Christ taught, but we did not run away from it. We did not refuse to let ourselves think about it. We actually looked up the scriptures in our Bible and proved what Christ taught was true. If we reject knowledge God say He will reject us. The truth is really good, and it is not strange at all.
If you would like to learn the truth about what Christ taught, as it contradicts what is taught in the churches, enroll today in our Traditional Christian Doctrine series. We take many of the “traditions” taught and accepted by traditional churches and prove, from the Bible, they were not taught by Christ or His apostles at all. Do you dare take this challenge?
If you would like to learn more about this “Strange Gospel” we teach enroll in our Mini-Correspondence Course. As with all our materials it is FREE!