Vol.VII No.X Pg.7
December 1970

Queries And Answers

Robert F. Turner

Bro. Turner:

We have had much discussion about the word gospel; is it properly applied to anything other than the death, burial and resurrection of Christ? (1 Cor. 15: 1—4) SD


I wonder why people who read that passage stop with verse four? Verse five continues. and that he appeared to Cephas; then to the twelve... etc If this is such a complete statement of the gospel as to rule out all extensions, we should at least get all that Paul put there.

Gospel is an English word, from the Anglo-Saxon god (good) and spell (a saying, tale, speech). We are repeatedly told in the footnotes of the ARV that it means good tidings. But what good tidings?

There is no doubt but that Christ our Saviour is the center, apex, pivot, fullness. etc. , of the gospel and I know of none who deny that; although we sometimes hear some facet of the glad tidings so emphasized as to overshadow Christ. All fundamentalist agree that the death, burial and resurrection of Christ are the key factors in the gospel. But this must not be allowed to rule out scriptural extensions of the term, nor become the basis for unfounded assumptions that Christ can be separated from His teaching (doctrine).

Christ preached the gospel of the kingdom (Matt. 4:23) before he began to foretell his death, burial and resurrection. (Matt. 11:21) The coming of the rule of God in Christ was also gospel (see Mk. 1:14-15).

When Paul saw that Peter, et al., walked not uprightly according to the truth of the gospel, (Gal. 2:14) he upbraided them. To preach or practice less than a universal gospel — treating Jews and Gentiles alike — was to pervert the gospel.

The Colossians heard of the hope which is laid up for you in the heavens from the word of the truth of the gospel. (Col. 1:5)

Paul preached with authority, as one entrusted with the gospel — and this involved exhorting and reproving to the end that ye should walk worthily of God. (1 Thes. 2:2,4,9-12) We believe this clearly shows that the many teachings of Paul were counted a part of the gospel.

2 Thes. 1:8 shows that the gospel can be obeyed — which means it includes commandments. It is not enough to say that baptism is a form of the death, burial and resurrection. This form is commanded; and God will render vengeance to them that know not God, and to them that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus. (See also 1 Pet. 4:17)

So, although the essence of the good news is that Christ gave Himself for us, we have no right to build a fence about the word gospel. The proofs of His resurrection, the sovereign rule of His kingdom, the universality of His blessings, His commandments, instructions for a true Christian life, and the promise of heaven, are all part of His gospel.