THE BOOK OF 1 THESSALONIANS
J. Deering, AncientPath.net
ADDENDUM ON THE GOSPEL
The Greek word euangellion means 'good news' and was fully appreciated when all the news of the day had to be carried by couriers. To bear good news was a high honor. Four different messages of good news have been rightly identified and set forth by Dr. C. I. Scofield:
(1) The Gospel of the kingdom.
This is the good news that God purposes set up on the earth, in fulfillment of the Davidic Covenant (2 Samuel 7:16...) a kingdom, political, spiritual, Israelitish, universal, over which God's Son, David's heir, shall be King, and which shall be, for one thousand years the manifestation of the righteousness of God in human affairs.
Two preachings of this Gospel are mentioned, one past, beginning with the ministry of John the Baptist, continued by our Lord and His disciples, and ending with the Jewish rejection of the King. The other is yet future (Matthew 24:14), during the great tribulation, and immediately preceding the coming of the King in glory.
(2) The Gospel of the grace of God.
This is the good news that Jesus Christ, the rejected King, has died on the cross for the sins of the world, that He was raised from the dead for our justification, and that by Him all that believe are justified from all things. This form of the Gospel is described in many ways.
It is the Gospel "of God" (Romans 1:1)
because it originates in His love;
The Gospel "of Christ" (2 Corinthians 10:14)
because it flows from His sacrifice, and
because He is the alone Object of Gospel faith;
The Gospel of "the grace of God" (Acts
because it saves those whom the law curses;
The Gospel of "the glory" (1 Timothy 1:11; 2
because it concerns
Him who is in the glory, and
Him who is bringing the many sons to glory (Hebrews 2:10);
The Gospel of "our salvation" (Ephesians
because it is the "power of God unto salvation
to every one that believeth" (Romans 1:16);
The Gospel of "the uncircumcision"
because it saves wholly apart from forms and ordinances;
The Gospel of "peace" (Ephesians 6:15)
because through Christ it makes peace between
the sinner and God, and imparts inward peace.
(3) The everlasting Gospel (Revelation 14:6). This is to be preached to the earth-dwellers at the very end of the great tribulation and immediately preceding the judgment of the nations (Matthew 25:31 . . .). It is neither the Gospel of the kingdom, nor of grace. Though its burden is judgment, not salvation, it is good news to Israel and to those who, during the tribulation, have been saved (Revelation 7:9-14; Luke 21:28; Psalm 96:11-13; Isaiah 35:4-10).
(4) That which Paul calls, "my Gospel" (Romans 2:16 . . .) . This is the Gospel of the grace of God in its fullest development, but includes the revelation of the result of that Gospel in the outcalling of the church, her relationships, position, privileges, and responsibility. It is the distinctive truth of Ephesians and Colossians, but interpenetrates all of Paul's writings.
. . . There is "another Gospel" (Galatians 1:6; 2 Corinthians 11:4) "which is not another," but a perversion of the Gospel of the grace of God, against which we are warned. It has had many seductive forms, but the test is one - it invariably denies the sufficiency of grace alone to save, keep, and perfect, and mingles with grace some kind of human merit. In Galatia it was law, in Colossae fanaticism (Colossians 2:18, etc.). In any form its teachers lie under the awful anathema of God. - Scofield Reference Bible, p. 1343
Difficulties of Covenant Theology and their understanding of "the gospel."
Strong objection is offered by Covenant theologians to a distinction between the gospel of the kingdom as preached by John the Baptist, Christ, and the other disciples and the gospel of the grace of God. One of them states that to make such a distinction is "unfortunate" and "dangerous." He with others contends that the kingdom gospel is identical with the gospel of divine grace. Here nevertheless will arise an absurdity which does not deter this type of theologian, namely, that men could preach the grace gospel based as it is on the death and resurrection of Christ when they did not believe Christ would die or be raised again (cf. Luke 18:31-34).
*Chafer, Lewis Sperry, D.D., Litt.D., Th.D.
Former President and Professor of Systematic Theology
Dallas Theological Seminary
"Systematic Theology," Volume VII, Doctrinal Summarization, "The gospel," pages 175-6
The Jews were in absolute denial of the prophecies concerning Christ. The then future fact of His coming, death, burial, resurrection, and ascension, was not part of the "good news" their preachers preached. Their leadership did not believe it and their preachers did not preach it. Covenant Theology tries to blend the two "gospels" together in order to formulate heir theological position - regardless of the clear teaching of the scriptures. Portions of the book of Isaiah are still forbidden by their Rabbis for Jews to read today.
It is important to understand that a "biblical theology" is produced by the understanding of what the scriptures teach about God and His relationship to His creation. Biblical theology must be based upon a Normal, Historical Literal hermeneutic. "If the words do not mean what they mean then meaning has no meaning." Biblical theology is the result of a consistent literal (normal, historical) interpretation.
Other theologies are developed as systems based upon a theological viewpoint - out of context or even regardless of the scriptures. Interpretation for them is based upon their theology. "I know what it says, but I don't believe it."