Looking At The Church
In The Rear-View Mirror

Examining The Past To Understand
The Problems Of Today

Rock of Offence Special Commentary

This material is part 1 of a two-part Bible study.
In certain situations, the study may be used
as a "stand alone" commentary in order to address
specific questions about the nature of Christ's
salvation. To access part 2 click on the
following link:

How Legalistic Religion Perverts
God's Gift of Eternal Life

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The following is a special insert included on certain commentaries
about recent Church History and how it relates to the problems
Christians encounter today. It may repeat some things already
addressed in this study, but may also provide answers to some
questions not previously covered.

Why We Need To Look At The Past

In this commentary we examine some of the early leadership of the Protestant Reformation--and how certain influences, such as Legalism (salvation through works) and its expression through the error of Lordship Salvation theology, continues to propagate through the Church. Some of this influence came from men like John Calvin (A French theologian and prominent leader of the Protestant Reformation [1509-1564]) and his doctrine of “The Institutes of Christian Religion” (also known as “Calvinism and Reformed Theology”), which strongly influenced most of the preaching during “The Great Awakening” revivals of the 1700’s in early America. Many (but not all) of the leading revivalists in this popular movement were either biased toward Calvinism or were committed disciples of this doctrine and its method of interpreting the Scriptures.

The common (and now accepted) practice of redefining the word “grace” is one of the most common corrupting influences found in the countless expressions of this theology. On the subject of the Gospel of Christ, the apostle Paul was careful to define Grace as God’s favor and acceptance, which was freely given and not dependent on the personal merit, works or the moral worthiness of the recipient. Grace defined as “the free and unmerited gift of God” was the cornerstone of the Gospel of Christ, which Paul taught in the New Testament (Read Romans 6:23, Ephesians 2:8-9, Romans 3:24-25, Romans 4:1-8, Titus 3:5-7) . However, many who embrace the teachings of Calvinism (and Reformed theology), consider Grace to be “God’s enablement or supernatural ability to live a holy life through keeping the Old Testament Mosaic Law.” A popular catch-phrase among Calvinists is often cited;

“Grace always exceeds the requirements of the Law”.

If you ever hear this phrase, know that the minister or preacher is not talking about the same kind of grace that Paul taught in the New Testament. Ephesians 2:8-9 declares, "For by grace you have been saved through faith and that not of yourselves; IT IS THE GIFT OF GOD, not of works, lest anyone should boast." Yet, many Calvinists (especially some of the popular revivalists of the “Great Awakening”) often preached from the position of grace as “God’s enablement to keep the Law”. Many of these preachers firmly believed that this enablement type of grace is the real gift of God--AND NOT SALVATION OR ETERNAL LIFE AS TAUGHT IN NEW TESTAMENT. However, Romans 6:23 (and many other Scriptures) clearly state that eternal life (Christ’s salvation) is “God’s gift”. Scripture itself disproves their misleading and false grace theology. However, this can be "spiritualized" and skillfully explained away by most committed Calvinists and others that operate under various expressions of Reformed Theology.

When the word grace, defined as “God’s enablement to keep the Law”, is inserted into the preaching of the gospel, Eternal Life quietly and subtly loses its “free gift of God” characteristic and is replaced by a requirement to “keep the Law and live a holy life” before Christ’s salvation can be obtained or kept. Yet, this counterfeit evangelistic message is still “technically” considered to be established on God’s Grace. As a result, receiving this kind of grace becomes a prerequisite to obtain eternal life, which Lordship salvation theologians describe as being fully submitted to Christ’s authority as Lord. Being fully submitted to the Lordship of Jesus Christ IS A GOOD THING WHEN PRACTICED THE WAY GOD INTENDED--BUT WRONG WHEN USED AS REQUIREMENT OR CONDITION TO OBTAIN ETERNAL LIFE. These things represent some of the defining characteristics of most expressions of legalism and are especially deceptive in various forms of Lordship Salvation theology. Paul called it “perverting the gospel” (Galatians 1:6-8). Peter referred to it as “a damnable heresy” (2 Peter 2:1-3). It’s a serious, yet subtle distortion of the Gospel that can have unintended consequences concerning our eternal destiny. It is not just some “minor disagreement” about Scripture as many churches claim.

Additional information on this important
topic is available at the following links:

Exposing Misconceptions
About "Saving Faith"

What Is Wrong With Lordship Salvation?
By Dr. Andy Woods (PDF Format)

The True And False Sides Of
The Protestant Reformation:
How Reformed Theology Distorts Our
Understanding of Salvation And
End-time Events

God Makes Some Major Changes

Over time--every movement, church and denomination drifts from the truth of Scripture unless great care and diligence is exercised. The Protestant Reformation began as a “protest movement” against some of the corrupt dogma of the Roman Catholic Church of the 15th and 16th century. Some of the early Protestant leadership left Catholicism to work in this new move of God. A few of these leaders, while opposing certain Catholic doctrines, brought other teachings of Catholicism (such as the theology of Aurelius Augustinus [354-430 A.D.]--commonly known as “St. Augustine of Hippo) with them. These Augustinian doctrines distorted God’s true intentions toward the sinner yet were incorporated into the new Protestant movement and became part of its doctrinal foundation. Today, great institutions and seminaries still exist with these teachings firmly in place because they are believed to be part of something called “Historic Christianity” and thought to accurately represent God's original intentions. However, contrary to some very popular denominational beliefs, just because something carries the label "Historic Christianity" DOESN'T AUTOMATICALLY MEAN THAT IT'S "GOD'S CHRISTIANITY".

All readers should keep in mind that we are not “anti-Protestant”. As stated in other commentaries, THERE WAS BOTH POSITIVE AND NEGATIVE THEOLOGICAL INFLUENCES OPERATING WITHIN THE REFORMATION MOVEMENT. A vast majority (but thankfully not all) of Protestant church members are in complete denial of this fact. The negative religious influences continued more than a century later in "The Great Awakening" revivals, which started in the American colonies. Since they are now part of the doctrinal foundation of many modern churches and denominations, these negative influences are still with us today and thought by some to be equal with Scripture. For example, Calvinism and Reformed theology is also referred to by its supporters as "Biblical theology" or the original doctrine taught by the apostles of the first century church--which is a horrendously misleading statement. This is why our goal is to draw attention to some of these commonly ignored facts recorded in church history, which redefines God's original intention found in the salvation of His Son Jesus Christ.

One prominent preacher we might use as an example is Jonathan Edwards (1703-1758), who wrote a sermon that later, became a popular book entitled, “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God”. He also wrote other revival sermons and publications, among which was, “The Justice of God in the Damnation of Sinners”. Edwards was a soft-spoken evangelist and theologian schooled at Yale college. He was known for his sermons during the “Great Awakening” in early America. Although he was not part of the earlier Reformation movement in Europe, Edwards did embrace many of its teachings and was known to be strongly influenced by John Calvin. Except for certain disagreements about the purpose for Communion and some reservations about God's sovereignty, Edwards was believed to be a committed Calvinist.

Church history records that during some of Edwards' sermons, members of the congregation would literally grip the pew in front of them afraid that God was so angry that He would “throw them into hell”. They held onto the pew thinking that a hole (going down to hell) would suddenly open up in the floor and suck them in. Some people passed out from panic and fear. I have no doubt that many were saved under the ministry of Edwards. Our comments here are not intended to discredit his efforts. He was a man of God who preached according to all the Biblical light he had at the time. I believe God used him in a powerful way. The “God is angry--hell fire and brimstone” style of preaching was common in those days and continues in some sectors of the church today.

Most Reformation Preaching Failed
to Follow Paul’s Instruction To
“Rightly Divide the Word”

It is correct to say and teach that God poured out His anger and contempt TOWARD SIN AND THE SINNER under the Mosaic Law of the Old Testament. The broken "Covenant of the Law" demanded this kind of Divine response. When an Israelite (or the entire nation of Israel) broke God’s Law, the legal and just consequence was judgment, punishment and sometimes a death sentence. God was bound by a blood covenant (an unbreakable agreement) THAT HE MADE WITH ISRAEL AT MOUNT SINAI. This blood covenant (Hebrews 8:6-7 calls it "the first covenant") required the nation of Israel TO KEEP ALL OF HIS COMMANDMENTS AND LAWS TO BE FULLY ACCEPTED AND APPROVED BY HIM (Read Exodus 24:3-8). If their obedience was incomplete or lacking, GOD WAS REQUIRED TO SEVERELY PUNISH THE LAW-BREAKERS UNLESS ATONEMENT WAS MADE. THIS WAS A PRINCIPLE OF THE MOSAIC COVENANT OF LAW. In the New Testament, Saint Paul referred to it as "the curse of the Law" (Read Galatians 3:13-14 quoted below). As a result of this curse, three thousand died when the Law was first given at Mount Sinai because of Israel’s golden calf rebellion during the forty days that Moses was on the mountain. Until Jesus Christ came as, “The Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world”, the result of breaking Old Testament Law was to incur God’s judgment, anger and wrath. Edwards and many other notable preachers of the Protestant Reformation and Great Awakening revivals used these principles of the Old Testament Mosaic Law in their evangelistic sermons and writings because they are recorded in the canon of Scripture. This is why many of these early preachers were convinced that God was angry with the sinner. They preached this condemning message with passion and sometimes indignation because it was recorded in the Holy Scriptures.

HOWEVER, there was a serious unrecognized problem with some preacher's understanding of the Bible. Information was not easy to obtain during that time period. Those who wanted to be "in the ministry" had to attend schools that provided this kind of education, which was both expensive and sacrificial. Books were often too expensive for the average person. There was no television, computers or Internet like we have today. The telephone, automobile and the airplane hadn't been invented. Certain assumptions about the truthfulness of your training had to be made because the official sources were extremely limited. There was a high probability that your religious education wouldn't match God's true intentions. Yet, few could discern this problem. We must keep all these limitations in mind because they hindered those who sincerely sought the truth. Most preachers of that era taught according to the knowledge they possessed, whether it was right or wrong.

It is clear that God's anger, poured out on those who broke His laws, is well documented in the Bible. However, there's something else documented in the Bible, which was tragically ignored or missed for various reasons. FOLLOWING THE SACRIFICE OF CHRIST, anyone who insists that God continues to angrily relate to the sinner in the same way as under Old Testament Law--is seriously misrepresenting His character and intentions. Why? The blood sacrifice of Jesus Christ (The Bible calls it the NEW COVENANT) changed all the previous rules. There was limited Scriptural revelation in the days of the Reformation and Great Awakening revivals and most of these early preachers took the principles of sin and judgment from the Old Testament religious program (also called Judaism) and used it in their evangelistic preaching ministry. HOWEVER, THEY FAILED (OR REFUSED) TO ACCEPT THAT THE ORIGINAL COVENANT PRINCIPLES, WHICH PREVIOUSLY EMPOWERED GOD'S ANGER AGAINST THE SINNER, RADICALLY CHANGED AFTER THE SACRIFICIAL DEATH OF JESUS CHRIST STARTED "THE NEW COVENANT". THE LAMB OF GOD TOOK AWAY THE SINS OF THE WORLD (JOHN 1:29). CHRIST'S SACRIFICE AT THE CROSS FULLY SATISFIED GOD'S JUDGEMENT AND ANGER--AND NOW RECONCILES (MAKES A PEACE AND FRIENDSHIP BETWEEN) THE SINNER AND GOD.

"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, ALL THINGS HAVE BECOME NEW. Now all things are of God, WHO HAS RECONCILED US TO HIMSELF THROUGH JESUS CHRIST, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, NOT IMPUTING THEIR TRESPASSES TO THEM, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation." (2 Corinthians 5:17-19--Emphasis Added)

"Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”), that the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles in Christ Jesus, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith." (Galatians 3:13-14 NKJV)

In some Protestant fundamentalist churches, this disastrous failure to respect the context of the Bible, or what Paul called “rightly dividing the Word of Truth” (2 Timothy 2:15), continues today and totally misrepresents the great salvation that Christ died to establish.


"FOR GOD HATH NOT APPOINTED US TO WRATH, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ, Who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him." (1 Thessalonians 5:9-10)

"THERE IS THEREFORE NOW NO CONDEMNATION to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death." (Romans 8:1-2)

"Therefore, as through one man’s offense judgment came to all men, resulting in condemnation, EVEN SO THROUGH ONE MAN’S (JESUS CHRIST) RIGHTEOUS ACT THE FREE GIFT CAME TO ALL MEN, RESULTING IN JUSTIFICATION OF LIFE. For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, SO ALSO BY ONE MAN’S (JESUS CHRIST) OBEDIENCE MANY WILL BE MADE RIGHTEOUS. Moreover the law entered that the offense might abound. But where sin abounded, grace abounded much more, so that as sin reigned in death, even so grace might reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." (Romans 5:18-21)

Jesus paid the price to take away God’s condemnation and judgment for sin and took our just punishment (and God’s wrath/anger) on Himself. Even the prophets of the Old Testament foretold of this extraordinary and life-changing event. Isaiah wrote....

"But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; THE CHASTISEMENT FOR OUR PEACE WAS UPON HIM (JESUS CHRIST), and by His stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; We have turned, every one, to his own way; and the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all." (Isaiah 53:5-6 NKJV)

After the cross, the Bible teaches that a radical New Covenant began, which freely (without merit or work requirements) and permanently delivers the sinner (pays the ransom for their release) from God’s anger and judgment. The book of Hebrews calls it, “a new and living way” (Hebrews 10:19-23, Hebrews 9:12-17). As a result of this “new way established by Christ”, the Bible says that God is no longer angry, but now loves and extends mercy and forgiveness to the sinner. From a New Testament perspective (or after the New Covenant started following the cross), it’s a terrible mistake to think that God is so angry that He’s seething with rage--looking for any excuse to cast us into hell over our sin. This common belief, found within the Protestant Reformation and the “Great Awakening” in early America, was a gross misrepresentation of Christ’s “new and living way” established by the New Covenant. Surprisingly, a lot of Christians continue to embrace this Old Testament aspect of our Heavenly Father, who was dealing with the sinner according to the principles and dictates of the Mosaic Law. Like the traditional Jews who persecuted Paul, they refused to accept the idea that God now deals with the sinner according to the Grace of Christ, which is a New Covenant benefit that carried no authority UNTIL THE BLOOD OF CHRIST SET IT IN MOTION AT THE CROSS.


Jesus called it “the new covenant in My blood” (Read: Matt. 26:28, Mark 14:24, Luke 22:20, 1 Cor. 11:25, 2 Cor. 3:6, Heb. 7:11-22, Heb. 8:6-13, Heb. 9:15, Heb. 10:19-23, Heb. 12:24). Minutes before His death, Jesus cried out, “IT IS FINISHED”. He was letting everyone know that a new blood covenant was now in motion that no force in heaven or on earth could stop. Once again, the New Covenant, is also called "the new and living way of Christ" established on His blood--Hebrews 10:19-23. Jesus was bearing the judgment (and God’s wrath/anger) for the world’s sin. The book of Hebrews calls it “a better covenant established on better promises” (Hebrews 8:6-7). The apostle John wrote;

“FOR GOD SO LOVED THE WORLD that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes on Him would not perish, but have everlasting life. FOR GOD DID NOT SEND HIS SON INTO THE WORLD TO CONDEMN THE WORLD, BUT THAT THE WORLD THROUGH HIM MIGHT BE SAVED.” (John 3:16-17)

Hell is a real place, whether you believe in it or not. If the unbelieving world doesn’t accept God’s gift of eternal life through Christ, they will spend eternity in that place. However, the New Testament teaches that God loves the sinner and desires that none should perish in hell (the Bible also calls this eternal death), but have everlasting life in heaven AS MEMBERS OF HIS FAMILY.

"BEHOLD, WHAT MANNER OF LOVE THE FATHER HATH BESTOWED UPON US, THAT WE SHOULD BE CALLED THE SONS OF GOD: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. BELOVED, NOW ARE WE THE SONS OF GOD, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is." (1 John 3:1-2)

"But God, who is rich in mercy, BECAUSE OF HIS GREAT LOVE WITH WHICH HE LOVED US, EVEN WHEN WE WERE DEAD IN TRESPASSES, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, THAT IN THE AGES TO COME HE MIGHT SHOW THE EXCEEDING RICHES OF HIS GRACE IN HIS KINDNESS TOWARD US IN CHRIST JESUS. For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it (salvation) is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast." (Ephesians 2:4-9)

God’s love expressed in this way was not possible under the previous religious program of the Old Testament Mosaic Law. It only became possible under the authority of Christ’s New Covenant, which didn't start until after the cross.

Because of His love, God wants the sinner, held hostage by the devil, to have eternal life. It's the reason He sent His Son to pay the ransom for our release (a price that could only be paid in Divine blood). The Bible uses the word "Redemption", to describe our salvation. Redemption involves making a one-time payment called "a ransom" that purchases the freedom of the hostage regardless of whether their character was good or bad. God designed this benefit (or ransom) to be received as “His prepaid gift”. Following the cross, there is no excuse for any sinner to experience the unthinkable horrors of hell. Yet, the Bible indicates that literally billions of lost souls will spend eternity in this place. When you think about God’s love expressed through His Son Jesus Christ, this needless loss of souls is a tragedy.

The Evangelical Movement:
A New Direction for the Church

In an attempt to correct the popular, yet legalistic “God is angry--hell fire and brimstone” style of preaching, our Heavenly Father began a radical change of direction within the 18th and 19th century Christian Church. It may be the last major change He makes before Christ’s Second Coming. The new movement (actually a global revival) failed to change the now bedrock and entrenched Old-Testament-based evangelism that dominated many sectors (but not all) of the Protestant Reformation. Some of the failure can be attributed to fierce internal opposition within the institutional church of the time, which was very similar to how the traditional Jews responded to Paul’s evangelistic message in the first century (Acts 13:44-48). As a result, the new movement split off in a totally new direction that would later change the lives of billions of people. It’s important to know that this new direction was not welcomed by many in the Reformed movement (now nearly 300 years old). It is still condemned today in the more traditional areas of the church that wrongly insist on preaching Christ’s salvation according to the legalistic and conditional principles of the Old Testament Mosaic Law. Like the traditional orthodox Jews, who persecuted Paul, they refuse to embrace the liberating truths of Christ's New Covenant, established on better promises (Hebrews 8:6-7).

One of the major “clash points” of the fierce internal stealth war between the Old Testament tenants of legalism and Christ’s New Covenant Gospel occurs around the topic of God’s Grace. As we previously learned, the many popular preachers in the legalist camp take their stand on a redefined “enabled to obey the Law” type of grace. New Covenant evangelists preach a “free and unmerited favor” type of grace. Both preach salvation by “grace” and both claim to preach Christ’s Gospel. YET, ONLY ONE IS THE AUTHENTIC GOSPEL OF CHRIST. These two groups don’t always tell you the type of “grace” they’re using in their salvation (or evangelistic) message. Many times this makes it difficult for their readers and listeners to discern the truth. To say that these practices confuse and frustrates a lot of church-goers (which also causes emotional disputes and verbal fights) is an understatement. Yet, obtaining a proper understanding of Christ's salvation depends on knowing the difference. Both can “technically” be called grace. Why? This word has two meanings within the English language and is found in any dictionary. One usage is “enabled to endure or perform” -- and the other is “free and unmerited/undeserved favor or mercy”. Yet, the truth of Scripture never depends on how a particular preacher or theologian chooses to use an English dictionary. SCRIPTURAL TRUTH IS ALWAYS ESTABLISHED ON HOW GOD WANTS THE SCRIPTURE, WORD OR TERM TO BE UNDERSTOOD. We refer to this type of interpretation as, “a proper respect for Biblical context” (Saint Paul called it "rightly dividing the Word"). However, many types of Christian doctrine do not follow rules of Biblical context, but continues to sound like good fundamental teaching established on the Bible. This common, but dangerous illusion ultimately leads many astray in their faith.

Additional information on this important
topic is available at the following link:

Exposing The Error Of
Redefining God's Grace

The apostle Paul, who wrote nearly half of the New Testament, defines the word “Grace” as “the free unmerited and undeserved favor of God”. Some preachers like to use the phrase “God’s--Riches--At--Christ’s--Expense”, to illustrate why God can freely and without any merit requirements offer this precious benefit. GRACE IS FREE BECAUSE IT WAS PREPAID, IN FULL, BY SOMEONE ELSE--MEANING THAT IT DOESN’T NEED TO BE PAID FOR AGAIN. This is why salvation is referred to as “God's gift of eternal life”. The word “gift” is used in the New Testament on purpose. It’s one of the “truth road signs” used by the Holy Spirit. Why? If you add any merit or work requirements to a “gift”, it ceases to be a “gift”. THIS IS A GIGANTIC WARNING FLAG THAT MILLIONS OF CHRISTIANS ARE PROGRAMED TO IGNORE. Yet, it is one way we can discern most forms of Christian legalism that operates quietly and covertly in the background.

The Holy Scriptures (God’s Word) always has two components. THE FIRST COMPONENT is the Scripture verse itself. THE SECOND COMPONENT is the original context where God placed it. The context of a Scripture is something that defines the way God wants it to be used. If anyone lifts a Scripture from its original Divine context and reinserts it into a context of their own design, what originally was God’s Word subtly becomes a corrupted man-made teaching that continues to “sound like” His Word. Using Scripture out of context is one of the basic building blocks for all expressions of aberrant forms of Christianity, abusive church governments and false religious cults (2 Peter 2:1-3, Gal. 5:4-8, Gal. 1:6-8, Rom. 16:17-18, Matt. 23:13-15, Col. 2:8).

Rock of Offence practices a literal interpretation of the Bible, unless a specific section of Scripture indicates that it is to be viewed figuratively (allegorically). When the Bible teaches something in a certain context, WE BELIEVE IT MEANS EXACTLY WHAT IT SAYS WHEN INTERPRETED WITHIN THAT CONTEXT.
Additional information on this important
topic is available at the following link:

A Warning About Violating Biblical Context

The early Evangelical movement was started on the “free and unmerited favor of God” understanding of Grace, which immediately caused bitter arguments and grievous persecution to spring up at the hands of the legalists, WHO DOMINATED THE CHURCH AT THAT TIME. This hostile attitude and “war of words” continues today in many places. Even though the Evangelical movement began to gain traction around the 1760’s, preachers and theologians who properly understood the “free grace” characteristic of the Gospel have taught this truth since the days of the early church. IT WAS THE APOSTLE PAUL (SOMEWHERE AROUND 40-50 A.D.), WHO ORIGINALLY BEGAN THIS EFFORT AGAINST FIERCE AND SOMETIMES LIFE-THREATENING OPPOSITION. After going underground for some 1700 years, the Grace gospel message reemerged and became a powerful movement when God’s people began to understand that the legalist’s doctrine about how to receive Christ’s salvation (eternal life) didn’t represent God’s intentions and actually violated the context of His Word.

Several notable individuals began to operate in what would soon be called, “The Evangelical Movement”. To save time and space, we only list a few that our readers may readily recognize. One of these men remains alive at the time of this writing. Yet, it should be known that many others labored to bring Christ’s Gospel of unmerited and undeserved Grace back to the forefront of true evangelistic ministry.

GEORGE WHITFIELD (1714–1770), who was one of the few that encouraged new converts to, “Come just as you are to Christ”. Whitfield is considered to be one of the Founding Fathers of the modern-day Methodist denomination.

DWIGHT LYMAN MOODY (1837–1899)--or D.L. Moody AND HIS STUDENT R.A. TORREY (1856-1928) were the first to strongly expose the error of the “God is angry with the sinner” mentality in popular Christian evangelistic teachings. Moody’s Gospel message properly emphasized God’s love for the sinner and invited them to freely receive His gift of eternal life. He openly taught the New Testament truth of “Justification by faith in Christ alone”. Church history records that Moody received threats on his life for preaching the free grace message that went against the Old Testament dogma of the time. Moody founded what is known today as “The Moody Memorial Church” in Chicago and “The Moody Bible Institute”.

DR. HARRY IRONSIDE (1876-1951) preached at the Moody Memorial Church in Chicago and was famous for his sermons that emphasized the free Grace of God. He was also known for his sermon and writings on the topic of “Another Gospel”, which exposed the popular legalistic gospel counterfeits commonly found in the Christian church of his time.

WILLIAM FRANKLIN GRAHAM, JR.--or Billy Graham (Born in 1918 and still alive today). Billy Graham is probably the most publically recognized Christian evangelist having preached to an astounding 2 billion people over his lifetime and provided counseling to several U.S. Presidents. Early in his ministry he began “The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association”, which had an international influence and still operates today. Billy’s invitation to come forward and “accept Jesus Christ as your savior” is well known. Graham would reserve sports stadiums and large auditoriums, which were filled by multitudes wanting to hear his sermons. The theme of Graham’s evangelistic crusades was the hymn “Just as I am”, written by Charlotte Elliott in 1835. This hymn would eventually become the hallmark of Graham's popular evangelistic call for people in the audience to leave their seat and come forward to receive Christ’s invitation to be saved.

Just as I am - without one plea,
But that Thy blood was shed for me,
And that Thou bidst me come to Thee,
O Lamb of God, I come--I come!


It seems appropriate to close this commentary by sharing an excerpt from Dr. Harry Ironsides’ sermon entitled, “Another Gospel”. We hope his words are helpful in your Christian walk.

[Begin Quote]

The Gospel is God's wonderful story of His beloved Son. It is a message of grace to be received in faith. It is not a code of laws to be obeyed or good advice to be followed. It is not a system of ritual observances or a call to submit to certain ordinances. It does not set forth the claims of any human church organization, however venerable, nor does it exhort men to seek after experiences, however remarkable, though a blessed experience follows its acceptance. It simply sets forth Christ crucified and risen as the Savior of all who believe in Him.

  • When the Mormon elder comes declaring that an angel revealed a gospel of salvation through a restored church and renewed ordinances, he is preaching another gospel, and angel and man are alike under the curse.

  • When the Legalist comes insisting that salvation is by obedience to God's holy law (which in itself is just and good), he is preaching another gospel, for the Word of God declares, "By the deeds of the law shall no flesh be justified in His sight."

  • When the revivalist comes promising salvation to those "who make a full surrender" of all that they have to God, and who "pay the price of full salvation," he is preaching another gospel, for the price was paid on Calvary's cross and the work that saves is finished. It was Christ Jesus who made the full surrender, when He yielded Himself unto death for us that we might be redeemed from the curse of the broken law and forever saved from the judgment to come upon all who refuse His grace.

  • When the Modernist prates in glowing terms and honeyed phrases of salvation by character, salvation by altruism, salvation by ethical culture, he, too is proclaiming another gospel, for if character could have saved, Christ need not have died; if altruism would have fitted sinful men for heaven, the Lord Jesus would surely have told us so; if ethical culture could deliver from the wrath of God, what place would Gethsemane, Calvary and the Empty Tomb have in the Divine economy?

  • When the Christian Scientist (falsely so-called) denies the reality of sin, disease and death and lulls sinners to sleep by telling them that "God is all and all is God," even going so far as to declare the death of Christ was unreal, and His resurrection simply spiritual, and that the blood of Jesus was no more efficacious to cleanse from sins when shed upon the accursed tree than when it was flowing in His veins, he, or she, is promulgating another gospel, which is not another, for it is a baseless dream, a weird and blasphemous "error of mortal mind" that will leave its votaries at last without God and without hope.

THE SOLEMN FACT IS THERE IS NO OTHER GOSPEL. Every pretended substitute is but a Satan-devised delusion meant to turn men away from the strait gate which alone leads into the narrow way, and make them contented as they crowd down the clear side of the broad way to eternal perdition.

Before there can really be another gospel there must be another savior and another Holy Spirit, and this can never be. Nor is any other gospel needed, for the grand old Gospel of the grace of God is all-sufficient to save "whosoever will," and has demonstrated its power throughout the centuries by transforming lost miserable sinners into happy joyous saints. Paul says,

"I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ;
for it is the power of God unto salvation
to everyone that believeth; to the Jew first,
and also to the Greek. For therein is the
righteousness of God revealed from faith
to faith".
(Romans 1:16,17)

[End Quote]

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Other Helpful Commentaries and Information

A Brief Note About Websites Outside Of Rock Of Offence: We provide these links for further study. Some links may take the reader offsite to another ministry. You might look at these teachings as "a second opinion". I don't like sending readers to other websites for the following reasons: When you refer anyone to a teaching from another Christian ministry it's automatically assumed that you're sending him or her there because you agree with everything they say. It is also assumed that the teachers and authors on these websites must agree with everything you teach. It should be understand that we WOULD NOT necessarily agree with everything taught on these sites and these authors and their staff probably WOULD NOT agree with everything we teach. We refer to these sites because ONLY THESE SPECIFIC ARTICLES may give the reader a slightly different perspective on a subject that carries "serious" eternal consequences. For all other articles on each site, the reader should be extremely cautious and exercise considerable discernment.

The Spiritual Revolution of Christ

The Believer's Position in Christ

Avoiding the Error of Replacement Theology

The Holy Spirit's Role After the Cross

This material is part 1 of a two-part Bible study.
In certain situations, the study may be used
as a "stand alone" commentary in order to address
specific questions about the nature of Christ's
salvation. To access part 2 click on the
following link:

How Legalistic Religion Perverts
God's Gift of Eternal Life

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Most recent revision May 2014